Life as a TA Taught Me How to be a Better Auditor

MPAc program offers skill-building teaching assistantships

If you're a graduate student looking to gain experience in teaching while developing other valuable job skills, taking on a Teaching Assistantship could be a great opportunity.

I’m a TA in the Master of Professional Accountancy program, and I find it is a challenging yet rewarding experience that can enrich your academic and professional journey in many ways.

When I first became a TA for Elementary Accounting, I had a general understanding of what the role involved from my experience in discussion sections while earning my undergraduate degree. But I didn't fully comprehend the extent of the responsibilities and the impact it would have on my graduate school academic experience.

Initially, I thought being a TA simply meant being responsible for grading assignments, leading discussion sections and holding office hours to provide additional support to students. However, I realized that being a TA also meant being a mentor and a role model for students.

Reflecting on my experience now, I see being a TA as an opportunity to make a positive impact on students' learning experience. I had the privilege of working with students from different backgrounds and with different levels of knowledge and understanding.

It was my responsibility to provide them with the support they needed to succeed in the course.

My Major Key Takeaways as a TA

Through my experience as a TA, I gained several key skills that have been beneficial to my academic and professional development. These skills include:

  1. Communication: As a TA, I had to communicate effectively with both the professor and the students to ensure that everyone was on the same page. I also had to provide feedback to the professor and students and answer questions in a clear and concise manner.
  2. Time management: Balancing my heavy coursework in the MPAc program with the responsibilities of being a TA required strong time management skills. I had to prioritize tasks and manage my time efficiently to ensure that I met all deadlines.
  3. Flexibility: Being a TA often meant being flexible and adaptable to changes. I often had to adjust my schedule or office hours to accommodate unexpected situations or student needs.

One of the major takeaways from my experience as a TA was the importance of being patient and empathetic with students. As the curriculum progressed, I realized the importance of tracking the students’ comprehension of the material.

I was a TA for a course designed for students who have minimal background in financing accounting. I found that students learns at their own pace and that it's important to provide the necessary support to help them understand the materials.

For example, I would review course material rather than teach new concepts if I felt that was more useful to the class.

Being a TA has also helped me develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. I had to analyze the materials I would be teaching beforehand and identify areas where students may struggle.

This required me to think critically about the coursework and come up with a plan to teach students how to fully understand the materials and create helpful tips in tackling tricky questions to avoid making potential mistakes on exams.

Before leading a discussion, I  would set aside bullet points that would include questions, formulas or tables to guide students on the materials being covered, and point out clues students may skip when reading the questions.

Developing a New Skill Set

Being a TA is a challenging but rewarding experience. It provided an opportunity for me to develop teaching skills, gain practical experience and contribute to the academic community.

My experience as a TA has been invaluable in preparing me for my graduate studies and future career opportunities as an auditor where communications, organization and time-management skills will come into play.

From my experiences as a TA, I can say that it's a meaningful and rewarding experience that allowed me to make a difference in students' lives while also developing my skills and knowledge that can enrich my academic and professional journey.