The current cost for a Georgetown University undergraduate education is over $53,000. And yet, we are put into positions to educate these young minds—as teaching assistants and teaching associates—without a single hour of training. Georgetown expects us to be mandatory reporters for Title IX concerns, to handle students’ mental health issues, and to provide equitable grading, but all without a guideline or handbook for how these issues are meant to be addressed. It is a disservice to the students we serve, and a disservice to the workers who are thrown into the job without a clear understanding of what it means to do their job. While we can receive a teaching certification through the Center for New Designs in Learning & Scholarship, we aren’t properly reimbursed for our time in taking these courses.
In light of Georgetown failing to adequately teach us—beyond the fantastic services at CNDLS—we held multiple meetings about what it means to be a worker, covering Title IX responsibilities, navigating MyAccess and MyGMS, understanding your healthcare options, and more. We will continue to do so, providing a needed voice until a proper contract provides these details for us.
With the union, we can bargain for paid teaching training. At the University of Oregon (UO), Article 9 Section 12 outlines that training will be provided by the employer, it will be paid, and it will cover issues such as Title IX reporting, sick leave, mental health issues, cultural competency, and more.
At Brandeis University, their contract stipulates graduate worker voices must be present in both developing further training programs, requires the Administration to create an international worker orientation training, and develops a Labor Management Committee that oversees issues and problems that may arise and works with the University to ensure proper procedures for workers are in place (Appendix D; Article 20.5; Article 7). The UO contract creates a similar workplace safety committee that includes two graduate workers and two University representatives to ensure safety issues are maintained throughout campus (Article XIII-b).
With GAGE, we seek to ensure that we are paid for the work we do—and that includes the training needed to do our jobs in a manner fit for a Hoya.