abstruse wrote:I'm wondering what normal TA duties are and what is a "ridiculous level" of work. Students at a school I am interested in often teach two stand-alone course (i.e., they are the instructor of record) at 3 hours per week with office hours to match. This is the only school whose TA duties I know so far, so I'm not sure where this falls on the low/medium/high workload spectrum.
From what I know, this is on the higher end. At my current institution, the grad students are required to either teach one three credit class per semester, or TA for 3 recitation sections of a class. The latter is much easier, since you don't have to prepare lectures. Depending on how fast you are, 3 hour long lectures can take up to 6 hours get prepared. If you're teaching 2 sections of the same class, I suppose that wouldn't be too bad other than 3 hours of extra work and LOTS of extra grading. Depending on what you're grading (e.g. written home work, quizzes, tests), these can take a while too if you have a lot of them. Quizzes and tests are easier since the answers are all in the same place (same paper for everyone), and the questions are generally easier anyway. All in all I'd say teaching 1 section of your own course is about:
6 (writing lectures) + 3 (lecturing) + 2 (grading, very dependent on class size) + 3 (office hours, can usually get your own work done unless there's a test soon) + 1 (meetings if this is a class taught with a specific curriculum and a group of TAs) = 15 hours total work a week.
Adding another section on top of that (with grading) adds another 5 hours (assuming you use the same lecture notes), and puts you right about the 20 hours mark. This is definitely doable, but I'd prefer to have that time to work on research.