As I look back on my first trimester as a Lecturer in Education Studies, I am filled with a deep sense of gratitude. After working for a decade in Higher Education in various capacities, transitioning to an academic role has been a refreshing and rewarding experience. In this blog post, I would like to share my reflections on the first six months of my journey as a lecturer. I’ll delve into my interactions with students, my growth as an educator, and my anticipation for the future. This long overdue post continues the blog series I’ve written reflecting on my new career.
While I am not new to the University or education, in moving from Learning Development to Education Studies, I am joining a new community of practice (Wenger, 1998). I still feel I have a lot to learn in this broader field, and I have supplemented my academic memberships to include the British Educational Research Association. I’m also renewing my efforts to get involved with the Society for Research into Higher Education, as well as retaining my scholarship of learning development via ALDinHE.
The student community
One of the most significant highlights of my teaching experience has been the connection with my students. I’ve commented on this multiple times before, but their enthusiasm, curiosity, and dedication have been genuinely inspiring, and it represents something I didn’t get as a Learning Developer – at least not in a sustained way. As a lecturer, I have thoroughly enjoyed witnessing my students’ creativity, especially during workshops and from marking written assessments. Reading their reflections has not only allowed me to observe their growth but, thanks to the international nature of my students, it has also provided me with valuable insights into other places on the planet. As I further integrate into the School of Education, my interactions with students have fostered my understanding of their needs, which I can now better address in the planning and delivery of my teaching. This is refreshing also – as I speak to a consistent audience, education. No need to wear multiple hats as a Learning Developer.
Personal and research supervision have been very new aspects of my role. While I encountered pastoral issues in Learning Development, it was not part of the remit and so I would always refer the student to student support services and personal supervisors. As a Learning Developer, I actively supported research but never had the deciding role. As a Learning Developer, I would muse on ethical issues with students; I am now signing off applications as an academic. This was the kind of challenge I needed. Teaching has been a staple of my career as a Learning Developer, but there are new things to learn and do as a supervisor.
I have found personal supervision to be a surprisingly fulfilling aspect of my new role. Engaging in one-on-one discussions with my students has allowed me to establish a deeper connection with them and provide targeted guidance tailored to their individual needs (Knowles et al., 2014). Personal supervision sessions have led to many meaningful conversations, enabling me to better understand the challenges and aspirations of each student.
Research supervision has been really rewarding with my undergraduates. Although I am only supervising three students, it’s been a great way to start before heading towards PGT supervision later this month. I am genuinely looking forward to supervising master’s research projects. Though I know it will be hard work, I am excited to see the innovative and ground-breaking research our students will produce. These projects allow students to delve deep into a topic of their choice, and I am honoured to guide them through this process. I plan to attend a training session with the Teaching Excellence Academy to help develop my supervision practice. I’m also looking forward to further experimenting with OneNote as a means to manage supervision.
Internationalisation of my practice
Working with international students has been an enriching and eye-opening aspect of my new position. I have gained a wealth of knowledge from their diverse perspectives and experiences, particularly concerning the different educational systems they have been exposed to. This has broadened my understanding of global educational practices and has given me the tools to incorporate these insights into my own teaching approach. As a result, I am now better equipped to support and guide students from various cultural backgrounds, enhancing the inclusivity of my teaching methods. This is, however, a long journey – and something I expect to vary as international students vary and we attract from different regions over time.
The opportunity to develop and shape the content of brand-new modules has been invigorating. Working on the third-year dissertation and research module has been great as nothing is written, giving freedom to develop something brand new. I’ve really been able to contribute to the support of literature-based dissertations and can’t wait to develop this further. Being able to draw upon my expertise and experience, I have been able to design courses that are relevant, engaging, and catered to the needs of my students. This process has been challenging and gratifying, pushing me to continuously expand my knowledge and skills. As I look forward to the year ahead, I am particularly excited to support the curriculum design process for the new master’s program. I am eager to contribute my insights and ideas to this innovative program, which promises to provide students with a comprehensive and cutting-edge education.
I have enjoyed researching contemporary topics and incorporating them into the curriculum, ensuring that our students receive an education that prepares them for the ever-evolving world of education studies. My numerous posts on Artificial Intelligence and education are good examples of such learning and experimentation. This emerging technology presents countless possibilities for enhancing teaching and learning, from adaptive learning systems to AI-driven assessment tools. I am eager to integrate it into my practice further and observe how it transforms the educational landscape.
In conclusion, my first trimester as a lecturer in Education Studies has been an incredible journey marked by growth, connection, and discovery. I am thankful for the relationships I have formed with my students and new colleagues, the personal growth I have experienced, and the opportunities that lie ahead. My increased understanding of global educational practices, the incorporation of my AI into my understanding of future learning environments, and the development of new curricula have all contributed to my growth as an educator.
As I move forward in my career, I am eager to continue expanding my horizons and making a lasting impact on the field of education. By staying current with the latest research and trends, engaging in meaningful collaborations, and fostering a genuine connection with my students, I hope to create a learning environment that empowers and inspires future educators and scholars.
Through my experiences thus far, I have developed a newfound appreciation for the immense responsibility and privilege of being a lecturer. As I continue to grow and evolve in this role, I am committed to maintaining the highest standards of professionalism, fostering a spirit of curiosity and passion in my students, and contributing to advancing the field of education studies. With anticipation and determination, I look forward to the many opportunities and challenges in my journey as an educator.
Knowles, M. S., Holton III, E. F., & Swanson, R. A. (2014) The adult learner: The definitive classic in adult education and human resource development. Routledge.
Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge University Press.