Benjamin Montet

I have seven terms of teaching experience at three universities (Harvard, Caltech, and the University of Illinois). See below for a summary of each of these, as well as excerpts from student evaluations.

Harvard University

I was the teaching assistant for Astronomy 120: Stellar Astrophysics in the spring semester of 2015. Students with widely varying interests and backgrounds took this course. Enrolled students included senior astronomy majors, sophomore astronomy majors, and nonmajors in programs ranging from computer science to art history. As the teaching assistent for this course, I designed and led discussion sections to be at a level accessible and interesting for all of these groups. I also created and graded weekly homework assignments and the midterm and final examinations. Exerpts from student evaluations:
Ben teaches very effectively. He gives good explanations while leaving students to come to answers on their own.
[Ben] did a REALLY good job of clarifying everything that was confusing about lecture (both during the lectures and in the help sessions). He also was super reliable whenever we had questions to email him, and he gave helpful feedback.
Ben rocks. He is the best. He made everything make so much more sense and I would not have been able to get through the psets without him. His lectures/explanations were very effective.


I was a teaching assistant for three terms at Caltech in the 2012-2013 academic year. For two terms, I was a TA for first-year graduate student courses: "Stellar Astrophysics" and "Galaxy Formation and Evolution". I held office hours, graded papers, and assisted with the creation of homework sets and exams. Excerpts from student evaluations:
Ben did a good job as a TA, answering questions clearly and willing to help out a lot on homeworks. He did a lot to keep things together. Toward the end, he put a lot of effort into getting the final exam done and getting [the other instructors] to contribute to it.
Awesome. TA was very supportive and patient when dealing with the myriad of questions the lectures left us with.
In the third term, I was the TA for "Astronomy 1: The Evolving Universe," a course designed for undergraduate nonmajors. Each TA section was designed by the individual TA, with that student being given wide latitude on what to cover in their sections. I developed a session called "Astronomy's Great Debates." Each week, I presented a famous debate in astronomy, then posed an order of magnitude question to the students regarding how one might solve this debate. The students worked on this problem in groups, then presented their results to the class and we discussed how the debate was actually resolved (if it has been).
The TA chose interesting topics to cover and tried to make section more interactive. Our section was not necessarily the most enthusiastic section but he took it in stride and still tried to engage us in astronomy.
University of Illinois

As an undergraduate at UIUC, I had the opportunity to TA introductory physics courses during my final three semesters. My first semester (Spring 2010) I was the teaching assistant for the undergraduate mechanics lab (for all science and engineering majors). I led two sections of 32 students through biweekly mechanics labs, held weekly office hours, and proctored examinations.

Both semesters of the 2010-2011 academic year I was a TA for the undergraduate electricity and magnetism course for non-majors (without calculus). Each semester I led two discussion sections of 24 students. I reviewed material from lecture, advised students during breakout problem-solving sessions, administered and graded quizzes, and assisted in the creation of examination questions. I also proctored said exams and held weekly office hours.

In all three semesters, as a result of end of term student evaluations I was included on the "List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by their Students." In two of these semesters (both in the 2010-2011 academic year) I was ranked as "Outstanding." This is the highest rank conferred, given to those that rank in the top 10% of all teaching evaluations across the University.