Teacher Assistants not finding much Assisting

With the move to e-learning, the teacher assistant program has been left in a flux. Teachers, TA’s and the school all want to keep the program going during e-learning so that it is ready for the return to in-person school. As a result of this, TA’s have been left with a spectrum of responsibilities. 

I, Matthew Shanbom, as a TA have done almost no work as a TA. TAing for computer science teacher Lamberto Roscioli, my main responsibilities have been to occasionally look up code.org lesson guides and see whether they would work online. My main responsibilities would be to assist students with their coding one on one which is not possible on Microsoft Teams. I knew going into this year that a large reason for me TAing was to improve my own coding skills as I had run out of computer science classes at the school. I took this as basically Computer Science IV which would allow me to have more time to code when not performing my TA duties.

Some other responsibilities I would have in class would likely include grading student submissions and tests which is not feasible in an online environment. There is no secure way for me to have access to student work and allow me to take some pressure off the teacher.

Which brings me around to my point, I, Javier Garcia, have done the smallest sliver of work, or ‘Assistance’ TAing for  Andrew Shipe. 

Though I should mention I too took Dr. Shipe’s TA mainly to give myself another block with Dr. Shipe who has been my Journalism(Journalistic?) advisor all four years of highschool now. This extra TA period carried a vision of a more lax Newspaper period–especially since I TA a study hall–where I can siphon all questions, debriefs, or simple curiousies to Dr. Shipe and vice versa.

While that option remains, as his TA the only task I am given is to log on, and every class period to maintain/check the Tornado Times Email, Twitter, and keep our product board up to date. These daily rites only take up the first 20 minutes of class, leaving me to my own devices for roughly an  hour and a half. 

Even though I intended to do a lot more directly involved in the product we (Tornado Times News Staff) there is only so much I, and even Dr. Shipe, can do with the mediums of which we find ourselves in today. He can only send me to do the things I had complete control over to do already, keeping my duties as a TA to the simple and more trivial things. I even loosely imagined periods where I assist Dr. Shipe in some work I have never seen before, or a Journalism chore that usually flies right over my head. 

Nonetheless, I make the most out of what I have for now, using my TA period to the fullest of my ability to at least be prepared when there is actually assisting in my Teacher’s Assistant position. 

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