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Do TA's buy the books or are they provided?


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This may seem like a dumb question, but as a first-time TA, I don't know what the norm is. Do TAs buy the books for the course they're teaching just like they do for the courses they are taking? Or are the required texts provided to TAs? I know I can find out from my TA adviser but I thought I would ask here first so I know what to expect.

 

Thanks!

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It's different at every institution I am sure, although I would expect that the department should help you out in some way. You are after all teaching. Best bet is to ask your instructor though or a senior grad student at your school.

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In Canada, you will be provided with the textbook. If you have to buy anything, make sure you get it reimbursed through your course's budget. It might depend on the department, but I will be very surprised if TAs in Canada ever have to pay for anything related to their work as a TA (including their time being trained). I TA'ed for 2 years in Canada and "consumable materials", such as lab notebooks were provided for me when I went to the science stores and textbooks or other reference materials were loaned to me by the prof (he ordered enough copies for himself and all the TAs).

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Most of the time, the department or instructor will provide you with a copy from which to teach.  You shouldn't be expected to pay for books for classes you are TAing.

 

Even if the department or instructor does not provide you with the text, you can request it from the publisher free of charge.  I did this with one or two classes I TA'ed.

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Professors provide them here if you don't want to buy them. You just return them at the end of the semester.

 

I've never had to return them before. Geez, for the work we do and how much we're paid, you'd think a free text isn't that much to ask...

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I've never had to return them before. Geez, for the work we do and how much we're paid, you'd think a free text isn't that much to ask...

 

Depends I guess. If they are going to use the book again next time they teach the class I get wanting it back. It's rare in my department that you TA for a class that will have useful books for grad students. The ones that have interesting reading are usually smaller and don't get assigned TAs (Third World Sociology and Geography of Food being notable exceptions as these are popular outside the department.) There are also a lot of younger professors here that don't assign books but use journal articles instead.

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Sometimes I've gotten books from the instructor, sometimes from the publisher, and sometimes paid out of pocket or held onto the library's copy for many, many months. It depends, in part, on the size of the class and the publisher whether you'll be able to get a desk/exam(ination)/review copy easily and quickly. Some publishers send them out within a week of your request and with minimal verification needed while others require enrollment information before sending them. Still others will let you keep the book for only a limited period of time unless you decide to order the book for your course and do so through the campus bookstore or another approved vendor.

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My department furnishes its TAs with textbooks, & although I bought a used copy of it ahead of time to leaf through during the summer (early bird gets the "it's way easier to write exams when the content is old news!" worm), they still gave me their copy to have or keep in the office. I also have to give back the copy they supplied me with at the end of the semester, so it's nice to have my own copy that I can mark up.

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