Choosing a career direction is difficult and there are many things to consider. Perhaps you are doing a postgraduate degree at the moment and are wondering where to take your career. This article explains 5 good things about being a university lecturer (I'm sure there are many more, but here's a start....)
The main reason for becoming a university lecturer is that it is an incredibly rewarding job. You can talk about a subject that you enjoy. You get to see young people’s love of their subject increase, their academic performance improve and you can guide them in their choice of future career. The brightest students can make you change the way you think about your work while the more challenging students can still be inspiring in their work ethic by constantly striving to improve. Having to deal with extreme discipline problems is rare because most students engage with the course that they have chosen and they have the maturity to see through.
Universities now offer their new lecturing staff training to help them hone their pedagogical skills and improve practical classroom techniques. This training, usually taking one year, involves small groups of new lecturers from across the university coming together on a part time basis to fit in with the demands of teaching and researching. You will be awarded a recognised and transferable teaching qualification at the end of the course.
3. Flexible working
Many university departments allow you to work from home during periods when you do not have to be in the university for teaching or admin reasons. This means that you can juggle family commitments more easily than in a traditional ‘nine to five’ role. The flexible hours can mean that a longer commute to work is possible because you do not have to be in the department every day. Many lecturers use email and text to keep in touch with students and colleagues, again reducing the need for a constant presence in the department. Outside university term time can also work away from your office (unless you require lab equipment that is only available in the university).
Unlike school teachers, university lecturers often have a real autonomy over their teaching. To a certain extent they can choose which part of their specialist area they want to teach, and how they teach it. Course design is often left in the hands of an individual lecturer, so he or she can plan out each week’s topic and the way that the course will be assessed.
5. Encouraged to research too
As well as the classroom work, lecturers are encouraged to be active researchers as well. The two strands of work can work in harmony although it can be challenging to fit in both aspects of the job. Working on your research and publications will mean that you are seen as an expert in your field and this can enhance your reputation as a teacher too in the eyes of your colleagues and your students.