Students Contribute to EHS Classrooms as Teaching Assistants

Kerui Yang, staff writer

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In the back of Nancy Poulos’ seventh period AP Computer Science classroom, three students set their bags down before walking around the room as class starts. As Poulos’ Teaching Assistants (TAs), their current job is to help students with their projects for the unit. Around Edina High school, there are many more students who spend a portion of their time at school as teaching assistants. Being a TA acts as a special way for students to experience something different than just attending class, and give back to classes they’ve already taken.

In the words of  World and Comparative Government teacher Betsy Nimmo, TAs often help teachers with “administrative work, which is great because it takes so much time, and I have more time to plan my lessons, grade my papers, and do things like that.” Additionally, students are sometimes able to try their hand at teaching a lesson or two. For Poulos, “The TAs taught [different ways of expressing numbers applicable to coding] this year and because we all forgot it from last year, we frantically relearned the worksheets to teach it. That was actually really fun to teach,” senior and Computer Science TA Daniel Van Hoomissen said.

Although being a TA means that you have to participate in class and help around, TAs don’t earn graduation credits for the work they do. Each TA has their own unique reason for signing up. “For me personally, it’s a nice break during the day, where I am still being productive by helping but I also don’t have to work super hard for a grade that I would need later. I also find Computer Science fun, and my brain works with it and so I like working with it,” Van Hoomissen said. “I will also have more of a skill working with other people.” Furthermore, being a TA reintroduces students to their experience in a specific class, while giving them a new perspective. “I think that it is very fun being a TA because you’ve seen the materials before and you’ve usually had the teacher, and so it’s cool going back and saying whoa, look they did this–I remember doing this!” Jane Howe, a senior who TAs for Nimmo, said.

For the teachers at EHS, getting a TA means a lot in terms of relieving workloads and stress. For a student to take time out of their day to do work for which they don’t earn credit is incredible. “When someone volunteers their time for a position such as [a TA], whether it be a TA for my class, a student tutor for the SMATH room, or a student volunteer in the Writing Center, I think it speaks volumes about their character. I feels very fortunate to work with these types of students here at EHS,” Poulos said.

To learn more about being a TA, check out EHS’s website. Additionally, students can become a TA by filling out a form when they register for classes in February and March, and asking the teacher for whom they would like to TA if they could use the extra help.

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