I like them. But in general they aren't doing as well in lab as I want them to. It pains me to grade some of their lab reports. Mostly they're just sloppy and careless in their answers and neglect to read and answer the questions thoroughly. But often it's obvious from their answers that they don't "get it." I feel like some of their not getting it is my responsibility, but I can only explain or say something so many times. I can't hold their hands. I've told them repeatedly to come see me during office hours or make an appointment with me if they have a question- but they have to know what they don't know.
It is really discouraging to me to listen to some of the other TAs and instructors talk about the students. Today I walked out of the room as someone said, "They just get dumber and dumber every year!" This kind of talk is going to get these kids nowhere fast. I don't think any of my students are dumb. Not one. Unfocused? Lacking study skills? Careless? Sloppy? Disinterested? Yes. But not lacking in intelligence to understand the concepts in this class. I see my responsibility as their TA to set up the framework for the concepts and to inspire them to care about this class (and biology in general). The deficiencies that students arrive with are a result of a poor educational system that fails to properly prepare students in math, science, and writing. They need to understand that just because they HAVEN'T learned it doesn't mean they CAN'T learn it.