Personally, that is a great idea to break in potential TAs, because back when I was an undergrad we had a LOT of chem technicians, that had no idea how to handle anything other than chemicals. What practical application is that? They were LAB technicians, and had to spend at least one shift in a lab.. And if they didn't know how to tend to chemical spills with people around, or how to handle chemical burns, their chemical knowledge did them absolutely no use. It also added to note that we had an entire course on chemical safety and MSDS preparations. If they can't apply this knowledge then TAs are useless to you other than chemical mixers, and no offense... you know how to do that already. You need someone to be an extra set of eyes in the lab for you while you have 25 students working at the same time. And knows how to think like you do. So, what i would do, is ask them questions that are geared towards YOUR thinking. And how you would anticipate them to answer along the lines of how you would handle the situations. No tricks, no smoke and mirrors, just straight forward answers. And you should be able to weed out candidates real quickly with this method and get yourself a viable tool for the lab room to help you mold our future.
Please excuse me if you receive this from two lists.
I'm interested to know if anyone has a safety exam specifically for CHEM lab TAs (grad students or others). We're specifically thinking about lab safety with respect to teaching scenarios; "what should the TA do?" as opposed to "what is the rule?".
If you would be willing to share (or if you have a question you think should be included), please contact me directly. I'll send information back out to the list(s), if there is an interest.
Sheila Kennedy, CHO
Safety Coordinator | Teaching Laboratories
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SAN DIEGO
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
9500 Gilman Dr. | La Jolla CA 93093 - 0303
Office: (858) 534-0221 | Fax: (858) 534-7687
s1kennedy**At_Symbol_Here**ucsd.edu | http://www-chem.ucsd.edu
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