This Teaching Guide is meant to give UC Berkeley GSIs well informed guidance as they begin teaching and throughout their GSI appointments as they continue to hone their skills. Most of the material was researched and developed by current and former GSIs at Berkeley, so it’s contextualized to our teaching situations, our students, and the resources the campus makes available to us.

Quick Start Guide

Checklist for Getting Started as a GSI (pdf)
Must-See Policies and Resources for GSIs

Pre-semester Preparation

There are many, many things to think about, find out, plan for, and organize as your teaching semester approaches, whether you’re teaching as a first-time or a fourth-time GSI.

Running Your Discussion or Lab Section

Nadir Jevanjee, GSI in Physics
Nadir Jevanjee, GSI in Physics

Discussion Sections

A wide range of methods and activities to increase student learning and participation. Although “discussion sections” is in the title, several pages provide useful strategies for any kind of class.

Facilitating Laboratory Sections

Lab GSIs must juggle two goals at once: logistics, so students can get through their tasks,; and learning, so they can connect what they’re doing and seeing with the concepts of the course.

Teaching Reading and Composition

Creating a course, developing objectives, approaching readings in ways that your students will learn from, teaching composition, and designing essay assignments are among the challenges of teaching R&C.

Major Topics in Teaching as a GSI

Evaluating and Improving Your Teaching

Concrete ways to check how effective your practices are and to map out strategies that will increase your effectiveness and expertise.

Working with Student Writing

Ways GSIs can guide students to learn through their writing assignments, while also being efficient with their own time and effort.

Teaching Critical Reading

If you want critical engagement with the texts in your class, you need to help students learn concrete analytical reading practices.


Learn ways to manage your grading process with efficiency, fairness, and educative value for the students.

Academic Misconduct

Be informed, inform your students, and be prepared to deal with cases of academic misconduct.

Teaching with Technology

Tools and services the University offers, and considerations in choosing which tools to use and the best ways to use them.

Learning: Theory and Research

With a research-based understanding of how students learn, you will be better able to focus your teaching efforts.

Professional Development

Use your current experiences and opportunities as a GSI to prepare for the job market when the time comes.

From GSI to Professor

Chart the many dimensions of pedagogical competence you will need and employers will look for, take stock of available resources, and make a plan to foster your professional development in your teaching at Cal.

Developing a Teaching Portfolio

A teaching portfolio documents your teaching activities and provides an excellent way to discuss your teaching on the academic job market with potential employers and colleagues.

Writing Letters of Recommendation

Students often approach GSIs requesting a letter of recommendation. Find out how to decide whether to provide one, what information you need, and how to write one.

Campus Resources for Teaching and Learning

Berkeley offers a wealth of libraries, museums, digital collections, gardens, and demonstration spaces, along with offices dedicated to enhancing student learning.

Annotated Campus Resource List

This list is provided in the GSI Professional Standards and Ethics Online Course and is organized around the five module topics of the course:

Module 1: Promoting Learning through Diversity: The Inclusive Classroom
Module 2: Teaching Students with Disabilities
Module 3: Creating an Educational Environment Free of Sexual Harassment
Module 4: Fostering Academic Integrity
Module 5: GSI Professional Responsibilities and Ethics

The full description and link to the course are given in the GSI Ethics Course pages.