Department of Chemistry

Responsibilities Teaching Assistants

GATs are professional salaried employees. They are an integral part of the teaching mission of the Department. In order to provide an appropriate learning atmosphere for undergraduate students, it is imperative that laboratory courses be properly instructed, and that your assigned duties, whether they be laboratory instruction and/or grading, be carried out conscientiously. You are required to:

  • Conduct the laboratory as directed by the Laboratory Coordinator.
  • Attend all required training sessions and TA meetings throughout the term.
  • Familiarize yourself with each experiment. Be sure you fully understand the necessary concepts, operations, and calculations. As part of your training, you may be required to undertake and complete each experiment.
  • Arrive in advance of the start of the laboratory as directed by the Laboratory Coordinator. If for any reason you are unable to meet your assigned section, you must arrange to have someone who has previously taught the course, or is currently teaching the course, substitute for you, and you must notify the Coordinator in advance in writing.
  • Maintain a safe and orderly laboratory and enforce all department and university safety regulations. The Texas A&M Laboratory Safety Manual may be accessed at
  • Aid students in their experiments and answer questions during the laboratory period. You are directly responsible for teaching correct and efficient laboratory techniques. Though you may assist your students as necessary for their understanding, you must not actually perform their experiments.
  • Oversee the use and care of equipment and supplies, guarding against the misuse of both.
  • Do no other work during the laboratory period.
  • Remain in the laboratory until all students have left and you have assured that all facilities are in good condition and all equipment is in the proper shutdown or standby mode.
  • Report information relating to laboratory accidents to the Laboratory Coordinator as soon as possible following the incident. Include a completed copy of the "Report of Injury or Illness" form.
  • Fulfill all other duties assigned by the Laboratory Coordinator including, but not limited to, grading laboratory reports, quizzes, prelabs and postlabs, and proctoring lecture examinations.
  • Maintain duplicate records of all grades for each student in the class.
  • Protect the confidentiality of any material entrusted to you. These may include instructor's notes, unknown keys, exam keys, etc.
  • Hold office hours in the place and time stated by you during your first class meeting. Also, include your office hours in the written material you give to your students at that first meeting.
  • Act in a responsible professional manner, avoiding possible conflicts of interest. You may not tutor a student in your class for payment of any kind. In addition, you may not have a personal relationship with a student in your class, nor have anything more than a casual relationship through a previous acquaintance with a student in your class. You must bring any such relationship to the attention of the Laboratory Coordinator.

Responsibilities Teaching Assistants

Some GATs will be assigned to assist with lecture courses. Although duties may vary, most students will proctor exams and/or grade homework, quizzes and examinations.

  • If you are proctoring an examination, arrive 15 minutes early.
  • Distribute examinations only at the designated time and collect examinations at the designated time. It is not acceptable to give students extra time unless specifically instructed to do so by the faculty member.
  • Before leaving the classroom, count the number of exams returned to be sure it equals the number of exams handed out.
  • Before leaving the classroom, check the floor, trash cans and desk area to be sure no important information remains in the classroom.
  • Give the examinations directly to the instructor; do not leave in the faculty mail-box unless otherwise instructed.
  • As a GAT-1 equivalent, you are expected to spend 6 hours per week grading and or proctoring exams. This may vary somewhat, however it is unreasonable for a faculty member to expect that you will grade for 16 hours in a 3-day span.
  • If you cannot attend your grading assignment, you must notify the faculty member at least 24 hours prior to the event.
  • If you are unable to attend your proctoring assignment, you must notify the faculty member at least 48 hours prior to the event.

Laboratory Courses

The responsibilities for lab instructors are listed below for Chem 101 and 102 laboratories. Although responsibilities for TAs vary from lab assignment to lab assignment, the vast majority of what is presented below is applicable to all lab TAs, regardless of the class which they teach.

  • Meet with your assigned sections at the scheduled times. If for any reason an assistant or instructor is unable to meet his or her assigned sections, he/she must arrange to have another assistant, who is assigned to the same course substitute for him/her and must notify (in writing) the coordinator or laboratory supervisor of the section involved. The coordinator's office will only arrange for a substitute in an emergency.
  • Be prepared for each laboratory period, including, but not limited to, having read the materials and worked all exercises required of the student; graded and recorded all quizzes and reports received the previous week; noted any items of special importance to bring to the section's attention; and, when so designated by the lab coordinator, to have performed part or all of the experiment.
  • Assist regularly in administering examinations given in the undergraduate lecture courses.
  • Assist the stockroom or program office when requested to do so by the Head of the Chemistry Department.
  • Be directly responsible for teaching correct, safe, and efficient laboratory techniques, etc., to the students in the laboratory.
  • Maintain a safe and orderly laboratory, enforcing all safety rules.
  • Oversee the use and care of equipment and supplies by the students in the laboratory.
  • Conduct the laboratory as directed by the coordinator and/or supervisor. (The TA must not make policy decisions.)
  • Maintain and report information relating to course grades, laboratory accidents, medical attention given in the laboratory, and general experimental results.
  • Protect the confidentiality of instructor's notes, unknown keys, etc., with which TA's and instructors are entrusted.
  • Conduct oneself in a professional manner at all times. Persons holding these positions are representatives of the TAMU faculty and, above all, are to aid the students in their learning.
  • Provide questions for possible use in weekly quizzes at least four working days prior to the lab period, if so requested by your supervisor.