Department of Mathematics FAS Harvard University One Oxford Street Cambridge MA 02138 USA Tel: (617) 495-2171 Fax: (617) 495-5132

Upperlevel Course Assistants (Math 22 and higher )

If you were looking for upper-level course assistant positions, please start here.

Calculus Course Assistants (Math Ma - 21b )

Applicants for Applicants for Math Ma, Mb, 1a, 1b, 18a, 19a, 19b, 21a course assistant positions must be current Harvard university students. We do not hire first-year undergraduates in CA positions. Focus on your studies during this year of transition, and please come back next year to apply! Please

fill out a Math CA application form here if you are interested.
Applicants also have to sign up for a Microteaching session.


Calculus Course Assistant Overview

All of Harvard's calculus classes are taught in small sections of around 25 students. Each section meets three times a week, taught by an instructor called a Teaching Fellow (TF), who is either a faculty member or graduate student in the math department. Each Course Assistant (CA) is associated with one calculus section and is responsible for working with the TF to ensure the success of the section.

Job Responsibilities

Course Assistants have five main responsibilities:
  1. CAs attend all of their section's classes in order to collect p-sets and return graded work, see what is being taught by the TF, proactively help students work through the new material being taught, and note the topics which are difficult for students.
  2. CAs do all of the homework grading for their section during the semester - students typically turn in a problem set each class period, and CAs are normally expected to grade the work and get it back to the students at the next class meeting. CAs maintain the grade book, and make a weekly report of the grades and any common mistakes to the TF.
  3. CAs work in the Math Question Center (MQC) one evening per week for a two-hour shift. The MQC is a community where calculus students can get math help from CAs and each other. The MQC is held in the Science Center, and is open on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays 7:30-10:30pm, and on Mondays and Wednesdays 8:30-10:30pm.
  4. CAs attend a weekly meeting with their TF to check in and set goals and expectations, as well as to discuss their students' performance. CAs also attend a larger weekly meeting with a course administrator to stay informed on course content, problem sessions, and workshops.
  5. Some CAs for 21a and 21b run a weekly 60-minute problem session. In some cases, the problem sessions are used to go over homework problems and other topics which might have come up during the week. In other cases, at least part of each problem session is taken up by a quiz, which you would then go over before taking questions on other topics. Some CAs for M and 1a run a weekly 90-minute workshop, in which students actively practice course material and prepare for exams.

CAs are expected to adequately prepare for all of the responsibilities listed above ahead of time. CAs are also expected to keep regular communication with the calculus CA coordinators and other math department faculty. However, CAs are NOT expected to perform the duties of a TF, such as leading section, making copies of section worksheets, writing homework solutions, writing exam problems, grading exams, etc.

The CA position is a great job for those people who want to get involved in teaching math, and in interacting with students to help them learn. It is also a real responsibility - this is a professional job, and we expect that CAs will meet all of the requirements during the semester and not let down either their TFs or the students in their sections. Students in calculus classes really count on the CAs to help them out - quite a number of students find it easier to relate to the CAs in their courses than their TFs, and often cite their CAs as a primary reason for their success in the class."

Pay Scale

The job usually takes between 15 to 20 hours per week for the semester. The rate of pay is 16.25 - 18.00 dollars per hour.

Prerequisites

For a CA position in a calculus course (Math M, 1a, 1b, 18a, 19a, 19b, 21a, or 21b) you will need to have satisfactorily completed classes through at least Math 21a, or taken a higher numbered class such as Math 25, 55, or 101."

How to apply

Please fill out an application form. Then sign up for a Microteaching session

Please arrive to the micro-teaching session promptly. During this session you will be asked to guide "students" through a problem dealing with the basic notions of calculus or linear algebra. The goal of the micro-teaching session is to get a better sense of how you understand and communicate mathematics, as well as how you interact with potential students. Candidates will be notified by e-mail of their chances of getting a CA job. We'll send out the notification by mid-May, but final decisions cannot be made until after sectioning is done for the calculus classes in the summer (as the number of jobs depends on enrollment and on how many sections are run). Those people who are told that it is likely or possible that they have a job must attend a half-day training session that will take place several days before the academic year begins in the fall.

If you have any questions about the job, please contact Hakim Walker (hjwalker@math.harvard.edu).
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