What is a TA? In the world of the Herman & Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute, a TA is an abbreviation for teaching assistant. Herman & Wallace has always had teaching assistants (TAs) at lab courses to guide hands-on lab time to be extra hands and helpers for the instructors. Having exemplary instructors and the addition of more people on the teaching team in the room to answer questions, guide, and give clinical pearls is what creates the optimal learning experience through Herman & Wallace.
During COVID, the demand for quality pelvic health education was still high, but COVID limited travel and group gatherings. The Institute was able to pivot and reformat some courses into fully remote offerings. This allowed continuing education to continue but did not answer the question of the core series of pelvic floor courses and all of the other course offerings. This required some creativity. Some labs could be taught virtually, but some educational topics and skills could not be covered without in-person, hands-on learning in which participants got to practice on real bodies..The next pivot was to create a hybrid model of learning, in which some didactic skills were reformatted into pre-recorded content, and the labs were offered in smaller satellites around the country. Herman & Wallace had always been a leader in education because of the hands-on skills provided and learned during in-person labs. The question arose, who would help guide them and be the “boots on the ground” for lab skills?
Enter the teaching assistant team! Each satellite class for the Satellite Lab Courses comes with an experienced TA. These are practitioners who apply for the position or are invited by the Herman & Wallace staff because of their exemplary performance during other courses or their CV full of continuing education in the pelvic floor field. A teaching assistant must have taken the core classes including Pelvic Floor Levels 1, 2A, and 2B through Herman & Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute. They must feel comfortable learning along with the participants, guiding participants through labs, and sharing the clinical pearls they have as they relate to the content being taught.
TAs had always had an important role in courses, but as the primary educators during lab time, they were now a vital part of the learning experience for participants. In keeping with this bigger role, Herman & Wallace, created an elevated role called a Lead Teaching Assistant (Lead TAs). In addition to completing the education required of a teaching assistant, Lead Teaching Assistants have assisted at 5 or more classes with Herman & Wallace within a 2 year period, with a stellar record of not canceling on short notice after committing (TA cancellation is a big scheduling nightmare for the Institute). They have earned consistently positive feedback on surveys from their participants.
Lead TAs commit to TAing a minimum of 4 events per year and even will travel to do so if needed by HW. Lead TAs also have access to many of the bonus learning experiences and presentations that the Herman & Wallace Faculty have access to. Lead TAs are like super, fancy, ultra teaching assistants because it is literally their job to provide the best lab experiences for participants.
What are the benefits of being a TA? You get access to all of the updated course content. When you TA, you get Teachable access to the most up-to-date version of that class. Herman & Wallace is always updating, revising, and adding, so you get to learn all those new gems for FREE! If you’re like most participants, looking to take 20 other courses but trying to figure out how to afford it (without selling your firstborn), being a TA is the solution. You get paid in Herman & Wallace course credit, which means that if you TA a class you are pretty close to taking another class on the house! The chance to network with other therapists is another perk TAs often list. You also earn CEUs for the classes you assist, as long as you complete the course through Teachable. The last benefit comes if you are studying for a certification like your PRPC because it is a great way to “retake” and review the content. Did I mention the credit you receive from TAing can also be used to pay for your PRPC certification?
What are the benefits of being a Lead TA? Really all of the above but it comes with more opportunities. Lead TAs become employees of Herman & Wallace which means that you can choose to be paid in course credit or money. You also get to attend monthly skill-building educational bonus opportunities created just for TAs. Lead TAs also get invitations to certain “Faculty Only” exclusive Herman & Wallace presentations. If you want to be able to write your own class or teach for the series, this is a great way to build your career towards this goal.
Can I be a TA if I have not taken my education through H&W? Sadly, the answer is no. The Herman & Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute acknowledges that other education can have the ability to provide the same level of education and pelvic health knowledge. However, it is the Institute’s stance that teaching assistants for Herman & Wallace should be intimately familiar with the manner in which lectures and labs have been taught to participants through the Institute. Education through other avenues, while informative and valuable, does not provide these opportunities.
How do I know I am ready to be a Teaching Assistant? Are we ever really ready? As a therapist, I feel the more I learn, the more I learn what I don’t learn. But when you are working with participants, they want your reassurance and guidance during learning, not for you to know every single thing. I like to say “do your best until you know the rest” to participants (and myself) as we are all ALWAYS learning. You are ready when you feel you can come into the experience with a growth mindset of being as prepared as you can be and also have a plan for if you need help in teaching/supporting participants.
What if I don’t know the answer to a question? As someone who has been a TA to over twenty classes, I can say, you will not always have the answers. What you learned in college or when you took a class a few years ago may have changed or been updated. BUT you can be a resource and a guide to help work with participants in their learning to find those answers with the course instructor, research, and other pelvic health resources. Herman & Wallace offers a teaching team and you are one member of that team!
How can I be compensated? If you are a teaching assistant you will be compensated at a specific rate of Herman & Wallace course credits per day of service. If you are a Lead TA, you will also have the option to be paid in course credit or a cash rate. These rates will be discussed with the teaching assistant coordinator during the application process.
How do I pick what class to TA? Start with something you are comfortable with. This may be your favorite Herman & Wallace class, a clinic you are familiar with, or a topic you are really passionate about. It has to be a class you have taken through Herman & Wallace, but otherwise, you have quite a few choices! Please remember that you have to have completed all three of the H&W core pelvic floor courses to TA any of them. Other classes also have requirements to TA them. The best way to find out if you are qualified and what you are qualified to TA is to fill out the application.
Are you convinced to join the team as a Teaching Assistant? Click here to apply to be a Teaching Assistant.
Would you like to chat with a Lead Teaching Assistant to find out if one of these tracks is right for you or to have some mentorship in your lab skills journey - please feel free to contact Megan Farr and she’ll help you get that conversation started too!