Hidden helpers in classes: Teaching Assistants of Ewha
Hidden helpers in classes: Teaching Assistants of Ewha
  • Lee Tae-hee
  • 승인 2016.11.14 13:46
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Quietly walking up and down the aisles of the classroom with a pen and attendance chart in hand or giving instructions before the exam starts is probably one of the only memories that students have of teaching assistants throughout the semester. However, if students look more closely, there are more stories behind the curtain.
“It is one of my jobs to check on students that have been absent for more than four times,” said Goh Byoung-jin, a teaching assistant for Love and Ethics in Human Relationships. “Although majority of students simply say they are going to retake the course next semester, I remember one student who completely changed her attitude after receiving my call. After then, she never missed a single class. I am moved when I see students go through such a positive change.”
Not only do the assistants give a helping hand to the students, but some also have gained valuable experiences for themselves. Kim Su-jeong is one of the few that is given a chance to step up to the podium to give a special lecture to the class every semester.
“Professor Lee Young-min asked me if I wanted to share my thoughts and experiences travelling around the world,” Kim said. “Visiting Latin America with Professor Lee’s Faculty Lead Program and sponsoring a Mexican native school, I was thrilled to share my experience with the students. It is nervous to talk in front of 100 people, but I try to casually approach the students so that they would enjoy my story and gain as much information as possible.”
Although a lot can be attained, the workload is not that light as one might think. In fact, it is rather burdensome considering the number of tasks teaching assistants are assigned to do. From dealing with students who complain about attendance and grades, one of the most difficult task is to maintain an appropriate balance between their studies and the duties as an assistant. Many of the assistants have to keep pace with their graduate schoolwork, which puts time management as the key focus.
“Attending graduate school itself alone is a heavy workload,” Goh said. “Fortunately, it is bearable during the semester because the professor does not give excessive amount of work. However, during the end of the school term, when I have to balance out both graduate school final exams and the assistant work, it is very strenuous.”
Even though the job is undoubtedly difficult, they see the time and effort put into assisting the professor and students as invaluable. The heavy task of teaching assistants both in and out of class is what aids to the completion of the many classes in Ewha.
“I feel really grateful towards assistants, even though I have never really had much direct interaction with them throughout the year,” said a freshman in the Division of International Studies. “Regarding front row seating arrangements that helped me with bad eyesight and frequent notices on cyber campus that helps me remember things, I think that the teaching assistants consider and accommodate students very well.”

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