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Three performances a week

This coordinator in business suggests teaching something you enjoy, including the research, reading and scholarship to help make the job easier. He also suggests that passion and enthusiasm are key to engaging students. More...

I have enjoyed coordinating this course for the past six years.  If you teach something you enjoy, including the research, reading and scholarship, it is easier.   You tend to be more passionate and enthusiastic and that is a key to engaging students.  My subject relates to accounting from an international perspective.  Each year I teach between 400 and 500 students.  Although this number can be daunting I saw the coordination role as being a transition from my previous work as project manager in business.  I have transferred the skills learnt then to manage students and staff.

I emphasise with students that they should come to lectures, although I do Podcasts for external students.  I tell them I help facilitate their learning but they must take responsibility for it, so I produce a very thin study guide that contains key points.  The points have changed little in the past 4 -5 years, but my lectures have changed substantially.  I believe the more you coddle students the more dependent they are on you.  I tell them we are all adults and are in this learning together.

I try and keep things simple and avoid getting caught up with small matters.   In respect to students who are unhappy with a mark I have allocated, for example, if the mark is a borderline credit or distinction I tell them ‘’fine, I’ll give you one more mark”.  The students generally know what their paper is worth and I don’t think it is good use of time to go through a paper again just to lift it by a mark or two.  Marking is subjective and three markers will allocate three different results.  I mark all papers out of 100 and then scale back to the percentage allocation.  Variations are not as significant when the mark is out of 15 or 20.    Marking is a stressful and busy time.  But in any job, there are times of the year that are busier than others.  I just accept it and go with the flow.

I put a lot of effort into lectures because I know that students will judge me on the basis of how good they are.  To give myself little breaks and restore my energy, I put up some cartoons, run competitions and quizzes, and put up some facts that I have stumbled upon and invite students to read.  I may also grab a glass of water.  I look at lecturing as a performance.  If I am giving three lectures in a week I tell myself I am giving three performances.  This helps me maintain perspective and focus.

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