Tuesday, September 6, 2011


As told to me by Walter Bradley, a faculty member at TAMU…

Over the course of every semester the TAMU faculty members and Department Chairs receive numerous complaints from students about the accents of their teaching assistants. As is the case at most major universities, a significant number of TAMU graduate students (who work as teaching assistants) are from countries other than the United States and speak less-than-perfect English. Most graduate students take improving their English very seriously, but that doesn’t change the fact that English is not their first language. Communication between, say, a Texas-born-and-bred student and a native Chinese-speaking teaching assistant who’s lived in the United States for all of two weeks can be quite difficult.

A few semesters back, a student complained about the accent of his teaching assistant multiple times, both to his professor and to the Department Chair. The student’s claim that the teaching assistant’s extreme accent resulted in the student doing poorly in class led to an investigation. Once the Chair knew which teaching assistant the student was referring to, he looked up where the teaching assistant was from, expecting a foreign country where English is rarely spoken…he found that the teaching assistant was from Minnesota.

1 comment:

  1. ok, so this post made Jeff and I die laughing, the only thing that would make it better is if the TA was from Wisconsin...since we are always the butt of jokes. Then, last night a HILARIOUS follow up happened, which, we got of video and Jeff is sending. Wait for it...it will be worth it.