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Lecturer by choice, not by chance

Initially, my university role involved teaching only, although I quickly found myself also managing other activities and staff.  Since starting here I have been well supported by my Head of School.  There are some boring administrative aspects to the role, … More...

Initially, my university role involved teaching only, although I quickly found myself also managing other activities and staff.  Since starting here I have been well supported by my Head of School.  There are some boring administrative aspects to the role, but I am fine with that.  I have learnt to cope with challenges on the spot and achieve good reviews from my students. I tell them at the beginning of semester that I am a lecturer by choice; not by chance.  I set the tone for my classes by telling them they are my priority and that I shall respond to their emails in two hours.  I enjoy teaching and interaction with the students.  It makes me happy when I tell them how something is done and they understand it.

I am suited to being an academic because of the flexibility and variety it affords.  I am not boxed in by working in the one place from nine to five and repeating similar work day by day.  I may teach on three days, which enables me to do research on the other two.  We can work from home one day a week to undertake research, or we may work in the library, or wherever we feel creative.  My salary is less than the level I would be paid for work outside the university, but the benefits outweigh this.

Locating sessional staff is difficult and I rely on contacts to help me with this.  People from industry approach us too.  Some sessional staff are retired from their jobs and we are happy to employ them.  However, while they may be technically strong, I like to keep an eye on their teaching for moderation and consistency.

Continuous improvement is important to me.  I keep a diary of notes that I call my knowledge management diary.  I re-use the knowledge I record about my lecture delivery, the issues arising from an assignment and the feedback I receive.  I write about what has gone well, what has gone badly and I record the questions asked by students.  This has enabled me to put FAQs together and saved me time when responding to emails.  Finally, to ensure my units remain current I talk to people in industry.  I regard myself as fortunate because I love my job.

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