A full teaching assistantship usually requires 20 hours per week to be devoted to teaching and to the related activities of class preparation, grading, and consulting with students. In general, teaching obligations are confined to the 12 weeks of the academic terms, excluding summer. A student may not be a teaching assistant for a course in which they are enrolled. Only teaching assistants with good oral English and who have fulfilled the Institute English proficiency requirement are permitted to teach sections.
All teaching assistants, including undergraduate students with teaching responsibilities, are required to attend teaching-assistant training before payment can be processed. Training sessions are conducted by the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Outreach (CTLO) and occur in the first week of the fall term, typically during orientation, and at least once per term. Teaching assistants must familiarize themselves with Caltech's policy on harassment and follow other policies related to teaching discussed in the required training. Classes should foster academic achievement in a "hassle-free" environment. Teaching assistants should not attempt to date a student in their class, and should disqualify themselves from teaching a section in which a spouse or current partner is enrolled.
Offices such as the Center for Teaching, Learning and Outreach and programs such the Caltech Project for Effective Teaching (CPET) offer workshops and seminars and are valuable resources for students interested in learning more about effective teaching styles and pedagogical techniques.
Unpaid Teaching Experience for Fully Funded Students
When a Caltech graduate degree program requires its students to have teaching experience as part of their academic and professional training, and when that student is simultaneously funded at a level that meets or exceeds the minimum stipend rate by another appropriate source of funding, the student may be engaged in a mentored teaching experience without appointment to a TA position.
In providing mentored teaching experiences, divisions should ensure appropriate mentorship and that the same treatment is applied to all students in the program who are undertaking similar teaching assignments.
Some sources of external fellowship funding may have restrictions on what the recipient of their support may do by way of additional employment or other activities. In all cases, any student receiving external funding must comply with the requirements of the source of that funding.
- Center for Teaching, Learning and Outreach
- Caltech Project for Effective Teaching (CPET)
- Hixon Writing Center
Full-time research assistantships require 20 hours per week during the academic year, but can be as much as 40 hours per week during the summer term. The specific duties are decided upon by the advisor.