Just wondering how the educators out there or departments choose their teaching asisstants. In my department, if faculty is teaching the course, then they tend to use their own students from their lab. If it's an outside professor, then the faculty professor in charge will probably ask HR to pull some applications for random grad students who are interested. There was an available TA position this following quarter for someone to run the labs in a manufacturing course. I had taken the course before and had experience with the lab equipment as well. I sent in an application, but wasn't chosen by the professor. A couple of weeks into the quarter a friend was telling he knows someone in that manufacturing class and the lab is going horrible because the TA doesn't know anything and doesn't know how to use the equipment. Furthermore, the TA could not give any help on the project or even what to do, even though he is in charge of it. This got me thinking of some previous courses I took during my undergrad. I remember this major field elective I took during my undergrad, where the TA had never taken the course before. Faculity professor was teaching and the TA told me he did not get a research grant for the quarter, so the professor just asked him to be his TA. Also the most ridiculous thing is that professor stated on the fist day to refer all questions regarding homework to the TA, and all lecture related questions to himself (prof.). Since I usually never bother to ask the TA lecture questions (unless he/she attended lecture as well, rarely this is the case), this was fine, but homework!! Another course was this partial differential equations course that was offered a few years ago. I didn't take the course, but friends told me the first recitation, the TA said," I never took the course before, so you'll be learning and I will be as well." The story behind that is that the department had trouble finding a TA for that class. The professor in charge of the course (he wasn't teaching it, but was in charge it) was told by his own phd student not to hire the person he had in mind, because in that phd student's words "he's an idiot, never took course before, don't hire him." The professor hired that guy anyway. During my undergrad, I found that most recitations were useless, and only a few TA's were actually helpful.