Ah, teaching assistants. Taking classes and interacting with mean professors is bad enough, so what possesses these people to teach them, often for free? The Black Sheep hasn’t unraveled this particular mystery. We do, however, have a list of the five types of TAs you’ll likely encounter at some point in UMD.
5.) The One Who Doesn’t Speak English:
They’re really nice. They smile a lot. They’re smart. They’re capable. They probably have a lot of good things to say. Too bad you can’t understand a single word coming out of their mouth. Going to their office hours is kind of like reading Shakespeare–you have a vague idea of what they’re getting at, but you really wish there was a Sparknotes version.You’re tempted to say “screw this!” and skip discussion, but the sad thing is that your TA is still nicer and easier to understand than your professor.
4.) The Cranky One:
“These students are all idiots. My time is too valuable to spend on them. TAing this class is beneath my dignity and enormous intellect.”
You’d love to tell them to take that dignity and enormous intellect and shove it up their . . . nevermind. Just smile and hold it all in, because they’re the ones grading your tests and papers.
3.) The Overly Enthusiastic One:
They’re not just good at this subject, they love it. They’re going to devote their lives to it and write-barely intelligible textbooks that Bookholders and the school store will charge an arm and a leg for. They walk into discussion every day with a big ol’ smile, a brain bursting with knowledge, and a lot of eagerness to share it. You don’t have the heart to tell them that you’re only taking this class for the gen-ed credit.
2.) The Lazy One:
They’re in class even less often than you are. When they do show up, they’re on their phone and making faces that say “kill me now.” They don’t answer emails or Elms messages. They posted some numbers on the syllabus that supposedly represent office hours, but they’re never actually around.
Our advice: don’t bother going to discussion. Just head over to Testudo and spend thirty minutes a day rubbing his nose, because he’s much more responsive than your TA.
1.) The One You’d Like to Date:
You don’t care about this class. You’re not even quite sure what it’s about. Your discussion is at 8 a.m. So why the hell are you still going to it?
Ah, right. Because you landed a TA who’s hotter than the AC-less dorms. They inspire you to tramp those 20-plus minutes across campus and get to class. You sit up straight and smile and nod and count the days until the semester is over so you can ask them out. (If they’re a starving grad student, we recommend taking them out to Adele’s.)