T.A. Talk with Megan Cleveland

Get to know the senior accounting major and Chinese minor, who serves as an ACCT 201 T.A.

KU School of Business
4 min readFeb 15, 2024

They lead some of our classes, teach our labs and grade our exams. Teaching assistants, or T.A.s, are undergraduate students who help faculty with course instruction and student learning. While each course may have different requirements, T.A.s apply and interview for open positions, much like ones for internships and jobs, with course instructors to see if they would be a good fit.

Megan Cleveland is a senior majoring in accounting and minoring in Chinese. A lifelong Jayhawk, Cleveland came to KU ready to be involved as much as possible. During some of her accounting courses, she noticed how her T.A.s were effective in their teaching methods and how they formed a close bond — something she has always been drawn toward. Now, Cleveland is T.A. for ACCT 201 Managerial Accounting.

Megan Cleveland

Can you share the steps or process you took to become a T.A.?

The application for ACCT 201 teaching assistants is typically posted two-thirds into the semester. After applications are reviewed, the second round begins, and candidates are asked to interview with the executive team. After the introductory interview, the third and final round starts. It consists of the candidates doing a simulation where they teach the current 201 team a lesson as if it were a real lab.

Did you establish a connection with any faculty or people in the academic area to express your interest in becoming a T.A.?

Before I was a T.A., I was a grader for ACCT 201, which helped me develop a connection with the team. I participated in case competitions led by the ACCT 201 instructor to actively demonstrate my interest in the position and get more involved within the school. These two opportunities helped showcase my interest and established a connection with the current T.A.s and instructor.

Do you feel you needed to have any prior teaching or mentoring experience to make you stand out as a candidate?

Although it helps, I do not believe you must have prior teaching or mentoring experience to become a T.A. I also do not believe a candidate has to be the smartest person in the room to stand out. If a candidate demonstrates compassion and effort and is eager to be an asset on the team, then they will stand out.

Were there specific skills or knowledge areas that you found particularly valuable in your role as a T.A.?

My ability to relate to different students’ personalities and learning styles is a skill that I found valuable to my role as a T.A. My Chinese minor exposed me to different professors and classmates, which helped widen my perspective on teaching and learning methods. I could pull effective methods from my Chinese professors and implement them in business school.

Can you offer any advice or tips for students interested in pursuing a T.A. position within the School of Business?

Being a T.A. is about showing that you care about the student and will put effort toward the job. If a student is interested in becoming a T.A., they should show effort and compassion in the classroom. I also suggest becoming involved in the school through organizations and clubs. Being involved in an organization helps students show their personality, which can help instructors and peers get to them on a more personal level.

Did you meet any specific qualifications or levels of experience that you feel helped you be selected as a T.A.?

Universally, T.A. applicant qualifications include completing and performing well in specific courses. I believe my involvement in the business school helped me be selected. Before I was a T.A., I was a grader for the 201 team, which helped me practice teaching, and I learned how ACCT 201 operated. Although I was a grader and close to the team, I wasn’t guaranteed to land a T.A. position. Therefore, I used my time as a grader to sharpen my skills to potentially become a T.A. Additionally, I was involved in an accounting case competition, which helped strengthen my knowledge and public speaking skills — two essential qualities of a T.A. I believe these two experiences combined helped me be selected as a T.A.

What role did your academic background play in securing this opportunity for you?

Aside from being an accounting major, which is essential when applying to be an accounting T.A., I also have a minor in Chinese. Studying Chinese taught me to be patient and exposed me to different types of learning styles. My minor helped me secure this opportunity because I can empathize with students who find the content foreign and tailor my teaching to them.

By Grace Ludes



KU School of Business

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