So as a possible future graduate assistant myself, this article struck a chord in me. The idea of teaching a classroom the information I have come to love during my four years of undergrad honestly gets me excited. Surprisingly enough, the University of Tennessee was one of my grad school choices BECAUSE of how they use their grad students as lecturers.
Grad assistants do not just go straight into teaching a class their first year. Many often do not teach by themselves until the last half of their second year or third year. They observe professors and are in constant communication with their superiors that have a "Dr." in front of their name. You are not receiving any less of an education if that grad student is doing what they are supposed to do. They need this experience to better themselves for the future and obtain the degree that will get them to where they want to be.
Many grad students that are teaching 100 or 200 level courses are trying to obtain their doctorate, and some just their masters (normally they are not required to teach but they can). They have most likely received a degree within the field they are now teaching in and have taken and passed the course as an undergrad. Some colleges do not even require a professor/lecturer to have a Ph.D. but does that make them less qualified to teach their subject? No. Many have put hours and hours into research in their field and taken the classes and obtained the skills to be able to teach.
So what is the difference to you between a newly graduated professor, fresh off the belt with their doctorate and someone who is teaching a 100 level course that will be receiving their doctorate within the next year?
Experience, yes, but overall, there should not be much of a difference. If you feel like you are receiving an inadequate education from a future doctorate holder, maybe talk to them about what you expect from the class. Let them know when they did not explain this idea fully, or if their assignments were too difficult. This is how we get better future professors. Complaining about how your money is still paying for your education, and not offering constructive feedback will help no one. Take it upon yourself to create the future professors you want. Take advantage of resources that are offered on your campus and even talk to your professors that are over these graduate students about your concerns. These are most likely your future educators, help them, because trust me, we only want to help you.
So, help us to help you. We've been in your shoes, and you can help to make the difference and feel like you are receiving your monies worth for your education.