A permanent post in a history department (and also many temporary ones) will almost certainly want to see evidence of teaching experience on a candidate’s c.v., and quite possibly some formal qualification. One of the key skills of the academic historian’s life is achieving a good balance between teaching and research, and it has to begin at the outset of your career. Teaching opportunities need to be carefully assessed in terms of their suitability for building a convincing case that you will be an asset in this respect for any department with the wisdom to offer you a job. There is no one way to do this, although important considerations at different points of your early career are outlined in more detail below. But ideally the record of your experience when it comes to applying for a permanent or fixed term position in a department will demonstrate that:
- You have a genuine enthusiasm for teaching, and can offer some form of proof that you are reasonably good at it.
- You are sufficiently well organized to be able to handle the demands of teaching alongside sustaining a research career.
- You have some understanding of common challenges facing teachers of undergraduates (teaching students of varying ability; dealing with different types of class; the need to convey complex information and arguments to students unfamiliar with a topic etc).
- You have administrative skills which may well be useful to a department in other ways as well, but should at least ensure that marks are recorded, feedback supplied and a module/course is well managed.
- You are capable of and interested in teaching topics and classes not immediately related to the current focus of your research.
- You are capable of working as part of a team.
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