Something that has only briefly been mentioned (if at all)
is my role as a teaching assistant under the UTOP program. Unlike the
responsibilities that math TAs are usually given as undergraduate student
workers here at University of Minnesota Morris, which mostly includes grading
homework and quizzes, I, as a UTOP TA, get to construct the homework and
quizzes and lecture.
At the beginning of the semester Barry and I met to discuss what my responsibilities should be as a more involved TA. It was decided that I would be solely responsible for constructing the online homework (Webwork). I also help in the construction in both quizzes and tests. Since being a TA still means that grading is involved, I do grade the quizzes while Barry grades the tests. Being more involved means that I attend three of the four classes every week to assist in answering questions, however, the most exciting part of being a more involved TA is having the chance to actually lecture. At one or two points in the semester I will be responsible for presenting the material to the class in full-length 65-minute lectures. While this is a bit intimidating I have always enjoyed helping others in leaning mathematics, so the chance to lecture in a first-year calculus course is very exciting for me.
Indeed, my role as an undergraduate TA is well beyond that of a typical undergrad TA. In completing the online homework, students have every chance to email me directly about problems they are having, and answering these questions is something math TAs here a UMM don't get a chance to do. My more personal involvement in the class allows me to help Barry in teaching and assisting the students while experiencing what it takes to be a great teacher.