One of the biggest difficulties faced by international students is getting the necessary funding to pursue a graduate degree in psychology. After all the struggles of applying – getting the GRE, TOEFL, letters of recommendation, and personal statements – you’ll likely want a site that will fund you, especially given international students are not typically eligible for financial assistance or loans in the United States.
This can put some international students in a conundrum – between what they are able to do, what they would like to do, and what the department would like them to do. Most international students would like to have a well-rounded experience, developing their practical, teaching, and research skills. At the same time, they are not usually able to work outside of their department, and cannot be funded by federal grants. This leads international students to find departmental funding – which mostly means being a TA.
Teaching psychology for the first time can bring up a lot of emotions: excitement, fear, trepidation, eagerness, rage, feelings of inadequacy, and even nervous laughter. When 50 pairs of starving hyenas’ eager undergraduates’ eyes are staring at you for the first time, expecting words to come from your mouth, and more than that, infallibly factual words… it can be a little intimidating. Couple that with a strong imposter syndrome (I’m still learning too, you know!), and it’s a wonder we’re not all incapacitated by bind attacks from a Bulbasaur (ah Pokémon, how I missed you).
No matter your reasons for getting into teaching (having a TA-ship, being forced/encouraged by your advisor, having a martyr complex, or a genuine desire to teach), the first time might feel more like drowning than teaching. However, with some quick tips, compiled and condensed here by yours truly, you’ll be on your way to swimming like Michael Phelps in no time! (marijuana optional).
In the beginning…
1. Prepare! Utilize resources.
Why do more work than you need to? Sign up for an instructor account with the publisher of the textbook you’ll be using, and you can get a FREE desk copy and access to online resources (premade lectures, interactive activities, and even exam questions). Experienced instructors who have taught that class before can be a great resource as well. Many universities also have teaching centers that have an army of people ready and willing to help you out.