Longman Teaching Assistant's Handbook

Stephen Wilhoit  
Total pages
April 2007
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The Longman Teaching Assistant's Handbookis designed to help new and experienced graduate teaching assistants become more effective teachers, scholars, and members of the profession.


As both graduate students and teachers, many TAs lead a divided life: learning how to balance the demands they face and fill the various roles they play can be difficult if not overwhelming. First-time TAs face the particularly difficult task of learning how to teach while at the same time learning how to succeed as graduate students. Experienced TAs often face the problem of learning how to identify and assume their roles in the profession.  The Longman Teaching Assistant's Handbook is written with both new and experienced TAs in mind. It addresses the concerns new TAs face and offers advice and guidance on the basics of teaching for the first time, while other advice - including the material on professional development, gaining administrative experience and preparing for the job market - will help more experienced TAs. The Handbook offers practical, time-tested advice that TAs can apply directly to their own classes and lives.


  • Unlike other guides to teaching writing and literature, the Handbook focuses on the specific concerns of Teaching Assistants working in English departments, in both literature programs and writing programs.
  • This unique guide addresses pedagogy, succeeding in graduate school, serving as an administrator, balancing demands, and finding a job. TAs can use the Handbook in pre-service workshops, in-service classes, or as a reference.
  • Sample handouts and checklists can be used as guides when TAs develop their own course material. For example, Chapter 2 contains a checklist TAs can refer to as they prepare to teach their first class, as well as a sample course syllabus and course policy sheet.
  • Information on professional development is designed to help experienced TAs improve as teachers and offers advice on entering the academic job market.
  • Material on diverse pedagogies includes several chapters that help TAs develop multiple ways of delivering course material, including advice on using technology to enhance teaching and learning.

Table of Contents

Chapters begin with “Introduction” and conclude with “Works Cited” and “Additional Readings.”



 1. Defining a Job, Defining a Role.

 2. Getting Ready to Teach Before Classes Begin.

 3. Teaching that First Class.

 4. Designing Writing Assignments.

 5. Responding to Student Writing.

 6. Grading Student Writing.

 7. Presenting Material in Class.

 8. Technology, Teaching, and Learning.

 9. Troubleshooting in the Classroom.

10. Holding Conferences with Students.

11. Teaching Literature.

12. Growing and Learning as a Teacher.

13. Preparing for the Academic Job Market.

Back Cover

Longman Professional Development Series for Composition

The Longman Professional Development Series for Composition grows out of Longman's deep commitment to the discipline and to the people who teach it. For many years, Longman has been a leader in publishing for the first-year composition classroom. We are proud to offer this series of useful resources for composition instructors, in addition to our distinguished list of handbooks, rhetorics, readers, and other textbooks. Covering a wide range of topics, the Longman Professional Development Series in Composition offers support for everyone from a seasoned writing program administrator to a brand-new teaching assistant, or even an undergraduate peer tutor.

Visit our online community for composition professional development: www.ablongman.com/comppro