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Guidelines For Lab Assistants

Introductory Geology Classes Take To The FieldTeaching assistants are an important part of the Geology Department at Carleton College. They help make classes better in several ways including actively teaching students, serving as peer counselors, being role models for intellectual growth, and helping to improve the efficient use of faculty time. A rich and diverse curriculum requires an active and engaged group of teaching assistants.

Late in every term we ask students to volunteer to be teaching assistants for the following term. This involves contacting Ellen Haberoth and letting her know the class you are interested in. The faculty then decide the most appropriate teaching assignments. Here are some of your obligations when you become a teaching assistant:

General Lab Assisting Duties:

  • You should be on time and ready to work through the entire laboratory period.
  • Many courses require you to establish office hours and keep to the schedule.
  • You need to be thoroughly familiar with the Geology Department's Safety Plan and help see that it is followed.
  • Depending upon the course, you may be asked to help with weekend trips. On overnight trips, teaching assistants normally are allowed 8 hours of work credit per day.
  • Some professors will expect you to help grade labs or quizzes, set up equipment, prepare samples, and so on.
  • You will need to keep current about the course so that you can be as helpful as possible.

Equipment and Logistics:

  • All teaching assistants will help keep equipment clean and returned to storage, keep specimens organized and returned to storage, and help with general cleanliness in the labs.
  • If departmental field equipment such as Bruntons, acid bottles, map boards, hard hats, measuring tapes or sticks, etc. are used during a lab, then lab assistants are responsible for collecting the equipment at the conclusion of the lab and returning it to its home.
  • If lunches are involved, lab assistants will be responsible for coordinating the food with Tim and Ellen.


  • Drivers need to pick up and return vans on time.
  • When parking in the driveway behind Mudd, park along the curbs and not in the loading dock.
  • The vans need to be cleaned of litter and mud inside, and have at least a half tank of gasoline in them, when they are returned.
  • Remember to fill out the log book.
  • Read the Tips For Field Trip Drivers.

Being a teaching assistant is a personally rewarding job. Many students discover a love of teaching. Others remark about how much better they understand the subject having tried to teach it to someone else. Lastly, there is the satisfaction of helping to make the Geology Department a stronger community of learners.