Academia’s underclass

February 20, 2014

The article on the plight of graduate teaching assistants (“Ignored and forgotten”, Opinion, 13 February) was painfully true. I was a GTA for three years. I basically had a year when I did almost no work on my PhD because I was teaching full-time for a paltry sum I couldn’t live on. I almost killed myself trying to do both fieldwork and teaching in the second and third years, and then had to fund myself through a fourth year to write the damn thing.

I often wondered what the students would think if they knew that their essays and exams were being given at most 15 minutes’ consideration so I could come in at something like minimum wage. The marking load was crippling (150 essays in 14 days, no days off).

I was very good at it, and I loved it. I wouldn’t have minded if I had been considered a member of staff, or valued, or given a route into employment afterwards, but I wasn’t.

I’m out of it now, but I wish something could be done. Value your GTAs, they are amazing.

M. Bodley
Via timeshighereducation.co.uk

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Worried man wiping forehead
Two academics explain how to beat some of the typical anxieties associated with a doctoral degree
A group of flamingos and a Marabou stork

A right-wing philosopher in Texas tells John Gill how a minority of students can shut down debates and intimidate lecturers – and why he backs Trump

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

As the country succeeds in attracting even more students from overseas, a mixture of demographics, ‘soft power’ concerns and local politics help explain its policy