Teaching Fellow in History

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Sasha Handley is a Teaching Fellow in History (12 months) at the University of Manchester.

What is your background?
I did my postgraduate degrees at the
University of Warwick.

What initially attracted you to your job?
I was looking to gain teaching experience in an academic institution with a view to getting a full time post.
Manchester University also has a very good reputation.

Define your job?
I teach a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in early modern history.

Can you walk me through your day to day activities?
My job includes writing courses, giving lectures, taking seminars, setting and marking assessed coursework and examinations, pastoral care, supervising undergraduate and MA dissertations and administration.

How has your job changed in the last 5 to 10 years?
N/A – this is my first academic position, I was a student previously.

What are the key issues facing your sector?
Lack of government funding and heavy pressure to publish original research, often compromising the quality of teaching.

How does government legislation affect your job?
The Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) dictates the parameters of most academic jobs, prioritising research over teaching. Government-funding decisions directly affects my salary.

What impact has technology had on your job?
I use a laptop/desktop computer on a daily basis, the internet provides invaluable resources for teaching. Likewise photocopiers, scanners and projectors are used in my daily activities.

What are the best things and worst things about your job?
Best things about the job include the freedom to work on my own areas of historical interest, to arrange my weekly timetable to a certain extent, and the satisfaction that comes from teaching students effectively and inspiring enthusiasm.

Do you have any horror stories?
Not yet!

What attributes do you need/what are you looking for when hiring someone in your role?
You need a BA, MA, PhD and a fair amount of teaching experience, at least at undergraduate level. This job also requires effective time management, organisational skills and the ability to communicate clearly and concisely.

What piece of advice do you wish someone had given you when you were first starting out?
I’ve been lucky, having been given lots and lots of useful advice by colleagues, supervisors and friends. If I had to give advice, it might be to learn how to be assertive with colleagues and students.

What are your three favourite or most useful websites?
Hotmail, Google and the BBC.

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