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International Teaching Assistants

The Center for Teaching (CFT) coordinates with the English Language Center (ELC) to assist and support international graduate students as they prepare for and begin their teaching duties at Vanderbilt.

  • Teaching Assistant Orientation – All new teaching assistants (TAs), including international TAs, are invited to attend the CFT’s Teaching Assistant Orientation held each August. This event prepares graduate students to assume their teaching duties with confidence by engaging them in interactive workshops about teaching methods and resources. Note that some graduate students do not serve as TAs during the first year or years on campus. These students can wait to participate in TA Orientation until the August before their first year of TA service. If you’re unsure whether you should participate in TA Orientation, please contact your department or the CFT.
  • Language Assessments and Classes – International graduate students who might serve as TAs while at Vanderbilt may be assessed for English language proficiency by the ELC, either at the request of their departments or by self-selection. Depending on the assessment results, an international student might be placed in a academic speaking or pronunciation course at the ELC. More information on this assessment service and the communication classes can be found on the ELC’s page for international TAs. If you’re unsure whether you should participate in the language assessments, please contact your department or the ELC.
  • Teaching in the U.S. Classroom – Graduate student TAs from different parts of the world often find much that is unexpected when they teach in an U.S. classroom. Teaching in U.S. universities (and at Vanderbilt, in particular) can be quite different from teaching in other countries, especially in terms of expectations for both teachers and students.  Understanding these differences can help us to improve our teaching and prevent misunderstandings in the classroom. See our teaching guide for international TAs for strategies and resources for navigating these differences.