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Early Career Teachers (ECTs)

Chris Creagh's picture

Universities are interesting places, you tend to get an academic position on the strength of your research and then you learn how to teach "on the job". This can be quite a stressful thing and no matter what your initial teaching load, you feel that you have been “thrown in at the deep end”. There are just so many things that you do not know! So many details to pay attention to!

Hopefully you are teaching in an area where you are familiar with the content so that bit is ok. You think you have all the teaching materials ready, and the rooms booked, and the recording of the lectures arranged, and the websites set up with new tests and assignments, and the textbooks ordered for the bookshop, and the exam office notified that you will need an exam, and you have checked the timetable for clashes and resolved what you can, and the students have been allocated to groups and labs, and you have informed the lab techs of the labs you will be doing and the days that they will run… and then the first day comes and you are standing in-front of a class hoping like hell that it all comes together, because really, what do you know about teaching other than what you have experienced yourself?

Somewhere in the next three years you will do a tertiary teaching course, you will find people who will unofficially mentor you and you will get the admin under control so that there is time to think, reflect on your teaching practice and ask how you can do it better. This is the moment you embark on the search for answers to the puzzle of a lifetime!

So, those of you that have survived this "ordeal by fire" any tips and hints for the ECTs?