Carnegie Mellon University

Teaching Assistant Responsibilities

Each course has unique needs, which means that not all TA responsibilities will be the same for every course.

You may be asked to do one or more of the below tasks, depending on the class.


Graders have limited contact with students, and are almost exclusively used to grade homework, labs, and exams. Gradescope is the leading platform used by our department to manage grading material in our courses.

Recitation Leader

Being present at labs, and leading the demonstration of examples for that class, or providing support to students as they work on their lab. 

Holding Office Hours (OH)

Students will work with the faculty and other TAs (if there are multiple) to determine the best time to hold office hours (OH).

  • The department strongly recommends a hybrid approach that provides options for both in-person and virtual OH.
  • There should be 2-4 different OH options each week, depending on the size and demand of the course.
  • If you are holding OH, you are responsible for ensuring the doors to your OH room are locked when you leave. If they are left unlocked that will result in a shift in your TA responsibilities, and could even mean loss of access to OH rooms for the entire department.

Lead TA (Graduate Students Only)

Lead TAs are responsible for coordinating the team of TAs in collaboration with the faculty for the course.

This could include:

  • Being the point of contact for the team of TAs.
  • Holding regular meetings with the TAs.

Attending Lectures

TAs are not expected to attend course lectures unless previously expressed by the course instructor. Depending on the class, TA attendance may be required for recitations in order to perform the TA duties such as leading labs, for example.