Date of Award

Fall 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Sean P. Yee


The purpose of this study was to explore undergraduate mathematics teaching from the perspective of a graduate student serving as a first-time precalculus instructor of record. A multiple case study was designed to follow three mathematics graduate student instructors (MGSIs) through one semester of teaching to understand their goals for student learning, efforts to achieve these goals, influences on planning, and to identify challenges they encountered. For each MGSI, data collection included four interviews, three observations of teaching, weekly journal entries, and written assignments from a pedagogy course. A focus group, field notes from the pedagogy course, audio from mentor meetings, and mentor interviews also informed the data analysis.

Dramaturgical coding was utilized to arrive at common themes across MGSIs related to goals for student learning and challenges. Findings indicated MGSIs aimed to prepare students for their future, develop students’ reasoning, sense making and understanding of mathematics, help students develop productive dispositions, and procedural skills. MGSIs challenges related to implementing lesson plans as intended, preparing to teach, and interpreting student’s course performance and preparation. Individual case studies describe each MGSIs tactics used in the classroom, perceived lesson strengths, additional objectives, and key influences. Findings illustrate MGSIs planning, identify their needs, and may be informative for mathematics departments and individuals working to support graduate students.