Graduate Teaching Assistant Workshop

The GTA Workshop, required by Missouri Revised Statutes, is designed to help you become a more effective classroom communicator.  S&T faculty will share their comprehensive knowledge on various aspects of teaching.  Topics include insights on intercultural communication, seminars on active and collaborative learning, presentations on electronic support in the classroom, and good interpersonal communication with your students both in and out of the classroom.  The goal of the Workshop is to improve undergraduate education at Missouri S&T by enabling teaching assistants to combine their technical expertise with improved communication skills.

The Workshop has earned highly positive reviews from the GTAs attending because of the opportunity to meet one-on-one with experienced, award-winning faculty, the opportunity to have themselves videotaped while giving a mini-lecture and the opportunity to critique these videotapes with peer GTAs and experienced faculty.

All students MUST pass the Workshop before being able to teach as a GTA.  All non-native speakers of English must pass an oral exam in English called the SPEAK test prior to the  Workshop.

Registering for the Workshop

Your department Chair will send us a list of the names, via your departments office support personnel, of those they are considering for the GTA positions.  Once we receive the list, we will contact you via email with pertinent information along with an application form for the Workshop. 

The GTA Workshop is always held the week before the Spring and Fall semesters start.  You must attend every session of the Workshop or you will be dropped.

Enrollment Deadline: Friday July 19, 2019 is the last day to enroll for the FS-19 Workshop and take the SPEAK Test.

Memo from the Provost: Missouri S&T is committed to ensuring that state regulations are followed. To that effect, the Vice-Provost and Executive Vice-Chancellor for Academic Support has published the following dates and guidelines (Spring 2019) for the GTA Communication Skills Workshop (FS-19). 

Please be on time to your scheduled time!  If you are more than 5 minutes late to either the practice or the final presentation, you will be dropped and unable to teach this semester.




Each participant will be assigned a reporting time in the IDE Building for their practice presentation. You need to have your practice presentation ready by 1:30 pm on Tuesday as you may be in the first group. The presentation will be repeated as the major portion of your Workshop evaluation.  You are to prepare an 8-10-minute lesson segment for presentation to an imaginary class.  Assume that your audience is one of the classes you will teach as a GTA.  Although this is only a portion of what would be a longer lesson, it must include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. You may wish to use the board, PowerPoint or other visual aids and any handouts you have prepared. If you have PowerPoint slides, please bring them on a thumb drive and not via your email.  There will be strict adherence to the time limits.  Good teachers plan well for the use of the time available.


Your presentation will be recorded.  Please watch it and learn from it.  We encourage you to watch with a colleague, as you will learn more this way.  It will be found on the MST GTA Workshop on the CANVAS site under PRACTICE SP19.  Please be sure you have accepted the CANVAS invitation that Sylvia Dees sent to you earlier.  If you still have trouble finding this, please email Alex Molner, at The practice presentation, with edits as suggested by your colleagues and a Workshop faculty, will be repeated as the major portion of your final GTA Workshop Assessment.



Your final assessment will include your 10-minute presentation – an improved version of your practice presentation. If you have some PowerPoint slides, please bring them on a thumb drive – do not retrieve it from your email!  At the beginning of your final assessment session, you will be asked for some general information about yourself and then asked to give your presentation. You will probably be asked some questions about your lesson. Then, you will be asked to make an impromptu class announcement as you might need to as a GTA.  Finally, you will be asked to respond to some prerecorded typical undergraduate student questions.  If you are an international student, we have prepared a list of American Classroom Vocabulary and Definitions.  I strongly recommend you familiarize yourself with these as you will hear them in your classroom.


Each participant will be assigned a reporting time for their final assessmentThis is the only time you will be required to report during the remainder of the Workshop.  Whenever possible, each participant will be assessed by a panel of at least four individuals, including one faculty member from your department, one Workshop staff member, and two undergraduate students.  The assessment procedure takes about 25 minutes.  Copies of the final report on your participation and assessment will be emailed to you and to your department chair by the evening of the day you have your assessment.



Much of the material we cover in the Workshop is now found on our website instead of printing it out.  There is information on teaching, your syllabus and what’s required, resources, and tips for all, including special information for international GTAs.   The website is:

As a part of being enrolled in the Workshop, you have access to the MST GTA Workshop on CANVAS.  It is cross linked with the website so materials will be available after the Workshop.  However, if something speaks to you, we suggest strongly that you make your own copy and files.   


Why do I need to attend the GTA Workshop?  It is a law in the state of Missouri that all Graduate Teaching Assistants meet a minimum language requirement -- we use the SPEAK test to prove this -- and receive cultural training -- we use the GTA Workshop to meet this requirement.    If you do not attend and pass the GTA Workshop, you cannot be paid as a GTA.   But I am a native English speaker?  Because it’s the law that ALL GTAs must pass the Workshop.  Even Americans occasionally fail.

Do I have to attend all the Workshop activities?  Yes.  If you do not, you will be dropped from the Workshop and cannot be paid as a GTA.  You must attend all of the workshop activities to meet the law mentioned above.  There are no exceptions to this requirement.  It is the law.

Does the Workshop have a dress code?  We have no special dress code for the Workshop and practice presentation.  For the Final Assessment, however, we require you to wear “business casual”.   Consider this a job interview.  You will want to look your professional best, but you don’t need a business suit.  We suggest a professional look – slacks or nice jeans (no rips!) and a collared or polo shirt for men (no t-shirts).  Women, if you wear a skirt, make sure it is not too short.  Again, we suggest slacks or nice jeans, and a nice shirt, sweater or jacket – nothing too low, too tight or see-through, nothing with distracting writing on it.   And you want your audience to listen to you, not be distracted by what you are wearing.

Where do I find the schedules for the practice presentation and the final assessment?  You will find the schedules in Canvas. Please make sure you accept the canvas invite to the GTA Workshop when it is sent to you, prior to the start of the GTA Workshop.  The schedules will also be posted outside the classrooms.

How do I choose my presentation topic?  Can I choose any topic for the presentation?  Yes and no.  It should be a topic that is related to the field of your department, possibly one you might actually teach.  Please make sure that the presentation is very simple – you must know your audience and you must stay within 8 – 10 minutes.  Be sure to time your presentation before you get to the practice presentation and practice it several times as well.  You will lose points for presentations that are too short or are longer than 10 minutes or too ambitious or complicated.  Pick one small subject that you know very well.   We already know you are smart, you don’t have to prove it to us during the presentation.  You may want to check out this link on our website:  PRESENTATIONS

Can I do a PowerPoint presentation?  NO!!!  But you may use PowerPoint as a visual aid for your presentation.  We have very strongly held opinions on what should or should not be done with PowerPoint – see our tips on the website.   Best Practices of PowerPoint   Your slides should be simple with very few words on them. Pictures, diagrams, and cartoons are perfect for slides.  Paragraphs are not.  Do not read from your slides.  Slides should have only the most important words or labels written on them.  If you are an international student, you may wish to enhance your listener’s comprehension by putting the keywords or phrases that you are using so it is clearer to your audience. Experts suggest using a paper handout with your slides and put all the details you want in the handout – saving the slides for minimum detail.  With PowerPoint slides, always remember, LESS IS MORE.

How is my practice presentation different than my final presentation?  Your practice presentation is an 8 - 10-minute presentation that you give to a staff member and several of your colleagues and they will critique your performance.   It is recorded for your learning benefit.  After you have received the comments intended to better your presentation, you will refine the same presentation and give it again, but even better, in the final presentation.  Go to Presentations for more info.

How do I see my practice presentation?  When your practice session is done, you can watch it via Panopto recordings on Canvas.  PLEASE – try to watch this with at least one other person in the Workshop – peer input is very valuable!!!  Go to Canvas and sign in. GTA Workshop is an organization.  Go to Panopto recordings on far left, (allow for popups), find your presentation.

What’s involved in the final assessment?   The final assessment will take less than half an hour.  A faculty member of your department, a faculty staff member, and at least two undergraduate students will assess your final presentation.  You will also be instructed to introduce yourself and your topic; there will be some questions and a role play.  Your ability to communicate well in a variety of situations as a GTA will impact your final grade.

When do I get my final assessment grade?   Please note we have a lot of assessments to type in a very short amount of time.  When yours is done, we will email it to you, your department chair and office support person to process payroll paperwork.  It will be done before midnight on the day you do the final assessment.  Please be patient.

What happens if I fail the Workshop?  If you do not pass the Workshop, your assessment form will tell you what you need to do in order to be reassessed. Usually, it will say that you need to take the ACS Class taught by  Lucy Sutcliffe.   Once you have completed this requirement, you may sign up for the Workshop and take it again.   Again, you may not be paid as a GTA if you have not passed the GTA Workshop.

What is the SPEECH 3001 Class?  Speech 3001 is a graduate humanities class offered as any other class through Joe SS and the registrar.  Dr. Lance Haynes, professor of Speech,  this class is especially for international students and it is a good way to enhance your English speaking skills.  (Speech & Media Studies 3001- please sign up through JoesSS.  The class is three credit hour of humanities).

What’s the best way to successfully complete the Workshop?  Pay attention to what the different instructors say.  Find what works for you.  Look through the website:  Ask questions if you have them.  Follow the directions you are given.      

 Here are a few testimonials from previous workshops’ surveys. All comments are direct quotes from students and have not been edited.

“One can learn many things we need to know before teaching.”

 “It helps a lot to international students to understand the students and classroom situations here in the USA.”

“It's really very helpful both classroom and out of class effective communication and social integration.”

“It sets a fairly good base.” 

“You get feedback on your teaching methods which is helpful.” 

“It is not only necessary for TAs but I think every foreign graduate student should attend it because it helps me understand how to study here in the US not only how to teach.” 

“It helps you to learn how to handle a class.” 

“You need it to get paid.” 

“Good experience, it is really helpful.”  

“Seeing there are very different ways of teaching that are actually used was very relieving.  It made me feel like I do actually have some room to teach the class the way I think it should be tailored to that class." 

"We are the first teachers that student really interacts with on campus, and so we need to be intensely aware of how we are interacting with student and how we come across to them." 

"The importance in building a good relationship with students."

The GTA Workshops are offered twice a year ~ always the week before/ Fall & Spring semesters.

General Schedule:

  • The first 1 1/2 days of the Workshop is classroom intensive: lectures, exercises, and assessment tips.   Plan to spend all day with us.
  • The afternoon of the 2nd day to the morning of the 3rd, you will give your practice presentation This is an 8 - 10-minute presentation that you give to a staff member and several of your colleagues and they will critique your performance. Also, it is recorded for your learning benefit.  After you have received the comments intended to better your presentation, you will refine the same presentation and give it again, but better, in the final presentation.  This critique will take about two hours of your day.  Your time for the practice session and for the final assessment will be assigned after the workshop starts. 
  • The last 2 1/2 days of the week are devoted to the actual final assessment.  The final assessment takes about 20 minutes and includes an introductory chat, your 10-minute presentation, followed by a question-answer period.  The last part of the assessment includes a role play where you are presented with a situation that might happen to a GTA along with some prerecorded common questions asked of GTAs.  The final assessment is conducted by one of our professional staff, a professor from your department, and two undergraduate students.  Your time for the final assessment will be assigned after the workshop starts and will need to accommodate the schedule of your department faculty. 

The practice presentation schedule and the final assessment schedules will be available at noon on Tuesday of the Workshop week.  Check back here or on Canvas after that time to find out when YOU need to be here.




JANUARY 14 – 18, 2019



Monday, JANUARY 14, 2019

G-5 Humanities-Social Sciences Building


9:00 – 9:05         Welcome & Announcements                  Lucy Sutcliffe

9:05 – 9:15        Undergraduate & Teaching Resources     Jeff Cawlfield, VP, AS

9:15 – 10:15      Graduate Teaching Assistant Practicum   Leroy Cox

                                                                   10:15 – 10:30     Break                                                                             

10:30 – 11:15     GTA Survival Skills                                   Lance Haynes

11:15 – 12:15     Assessment Procedures                         Lucy Sutcliffe

12:15 – 1:30      Lunch

1:30 – 2:45       Cultural Orientation                              Irina Ivliyeva

                                                                            2:45- - 3:00         Break                                                                     

3:00 – 4:30        Cultural Orientation                       Irina Ivliyeva


Tuesday, January15, 2019

G-5 Humanities-Social Sciences Building


9:00 – 10:15       GTA Alumni Panel                              Irina Ivliyeva

                                                    10:15 – 10:30    Break                                                 

                 10:30 – 11:45        GTAs and the Law                                       Merliee Krueger                           

11:45 – 12:15     Reminders & Tips                                Lucy Sutcliffe

Please note that the reminder of the GTA Workshop will be held in the IDE Building

Do not be late!!!

1:30 – 3:00      Practice Presentations* - Designated students meet in assigned rooms   

3:15 – 4:45        Practice Presentations* - Designated students meet in assigned rooms

     Wednesday, January16, 2019

For the rest of the Workshop, you only need to be here at your scheduled times.

IDE Building

9:00 - 10:30                Practice Presentations* – Designated students meet in assigned rooms

10:30 - 12:00               Practice Presentations* – Designated students meet in assigned rooms

     Wednesday, January 16, 2019

1:00 - 5:00    Final Assessments** begin, and continue through Friday, 1/18/19.