Carmen Jany

Assistant Professor of Spanish and Linguistics

California State University
Department of World Languages and Literatures
San Bernardino, CA 92407-2393


Requirement 1 Requirement 2 Requirement 3 Requirement 4 Requirement 5




Student comments





USCB Certificate in College and University Teaching

Requirement 1

Completion of campus-wide and departmental TA training activities

Prior to attending the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), I had taught foreign languages at private language schools in Switzerland, an experience I had thoroughly enjoyed. As an international student, I had to take an English exam (oral and written) when I first arrived at UCSB, to see if my English was good enough to teach. Passing this exam with no problems, I still did not know what to expect from teaching in the United States or how students might react to a nonnative speaker of English. Since I knew that I was going to be a teaching assistant my first quarter, I was very grateful that the university organized a Teaching Assistant Orientation before the start of classes. The orientation helped me understand my responsibilities as a teaching assistant, what to expect as an international teaching assistant, and where to find all the campus resources for teaching assistants. I also benefited from the booklets, handouts, and my notes from the orientation. In particular, the International Teaching Assistant Handbook has proven useful to understand the American Educational System, to improve my communication skills in the classroom, and it helped me gain confidence. Overall, the orientation prepared me well for my first experience as a teaching assistant.

The teaching assistant training at the department of linguistics consisted of a quarter-long seminar where issues such as teaching philosophies, learning styles, and how to prepare and teach sections for different linguistics classes were discussed. This was the second step in my teaching assistant training. One of the requirements of the seminar was to visit a section which was taught by another teaching assistant and to develop a problem set to be used in a class. These activities increased my confidence, and I learned about sources for creating problem sets in linguistics. We also talked about the professor-teaching assistant relationship and grading. This was especially helpful, since the grading system in Switzerland is very different, and I was used to teaching my own class rather than assisting someone else’s teaching. In short, the seminar was a great resource for my linguistics teaching at UCSB.

I received my most extensive teaching assistant training from the various classes and workshops I took in connection with my German and Spanish teaching. As a teaching assistant of German I attended a teaching seminar each quarter I was teaching. The seminar was intended to help me find strategies for teaching the various language skills, for developing quizzes, and to discuss any issues or problems that may have come up in class. It was extremely helpful to meet with the other teaching assistants in this seminar and to developed the midterm and final exam together under the supervision of the professor, as I gained a feeling for the amount and difficulty of tasks to include in an exam (see appendix C). We also discussed and developed grading keys. To take part in putting together an exam and grading key prepared me for my teaching associate position where I had to construct the exams on my own. The Spanish training was slightly different. Prior to the start of the school year we had a two-day workshop where all the procedures and some teaching strategies were discussed. This was very important because all the sections had to be taught in the same way. The workshop prepared me well for teaching larger classes with 30 or more students. Teaching German and teaching Spanish were two completely different experiences. While the German classes were much smaller with 10-15 students and students were highly motivated, I had 25‑35 students in my Spanish classes, many of which just took the class to fulfill their language requirement. In sum, the training was very useful, but what really helped my professional growth as a teacher was to actually teach these different classes at different departments and in different disciplines. I have thoroughly enjoyed these teaching experiences, which have been very positively evaluated by my students and have earned me an Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award.

Video consultation

I scheduled a videotaping and consultation service after having taught German and Spanish for a several quarters, because it is required for the Certificate in College and University Teaching. At first, I thought that this would be something I don’t really need other than for the requirement, but in the end I consider it to be a very useful experience and I regret not having done it earlier in my career. At the time of the videotaping I was teaching Spanish 2 and had about 30 students. The students didn’t mind the videotaping, and I was quite relaxed during the class. The class went very well, but I didn’t know what to expect from the consultation. When I arrived for my appointment, the consultant had already reviewed my tape and prepared some comments. We watched parts of the tape together and discussed several issues. He noticed that I was very confident and enthusiastic in my teaching and that I made good use of the chalkboard, but he also pointed out that sometimes my voice wasn’t loud enough and that some students in the back were not paying attention all the time. Though I had a cold at that time and couldn’t do much about my voice, it was helpful to see what was going on in the back of room during my teaching. I decided to monitor the students’ attention a little more and to try to speak up as best as I could. Overall, it was good to observe my teaching from the students’ perspective and to hear about my strengths and weaknesses from someone who examined my teaching. This experience contributed to my professional growth as a teacher and it improved my teaching.

Last updated: 03/27/2008