Should I become a higher education teacher?

Tue 1 Dec 2020

Teaching is an incredibly rewarding profession that offers the opportunity to change lives for the better. It can also be stressful, demanding, and challenging. Whether you’re considering transitioning into a teaching role from industry or looking at first career options, here are some of the skills you’ll need to succeed in higher education.

Adaptability

Gone are the days when students sat in silence copying long paragraphs from their textbooks – today’s classrooms are flexible, dynamic, and often virtual – blended learning enables students to learn remotely, fitting their studies around other commitments. As such, modern higher education teachers need to be able to use relevant digital tools, understand the latest technological developments, and know how best to fit them into their lesson plans. For example, in a blended learning environment, students may prefer to watch a recording of a lecture or practical demonstration that they can digest at their own pace rather than physically attending the class.

Communication

If your idea of a perfect work day is to sit at a desk with your headphones on then teaching is not for you – as a higher education professional most of your role will involve communicating with students on a one-on-one basis, teaching in front of a group, or engaging with colleagues. Being able to talk and write clearly and concisely is crucial for effective teaching. If you have good communication skills but lack the confidence to talk comfortably in front of a large group, don’t dismiss teaching as a profession – a postgraduate course in higher education can help you develop the confidence you need to succeed in the classroom.

Organisation

Whether you are teaching a hybrid class, e-learning course, or traditional classroom delivery, being well organised is essential. Adequately researching and preparing for every lesson, providing materials to students who are away, marking essays and exams, keeping up with the latest teaching methods and trends, and finding creative ways to motivate students takes an enormous amount of organisation and effective time management.

Diplomacy

Dealing with challenging students requires interpersonal skills that take time and practice to perfect. Deciding how best to handle laziness, conflict between students, or students that are dealing with complex personal problems requires tact and diplomacy that go beyond basic teaching methods. You can learn more about dealing with challenging students here.   

Enthusiasm

Do you remember an inspirational teacher who really motivated you to learn? Chances are, they were passionate about the course they were teaching. Teachers with a genuine enthusiasm for their chosen subject are able to pass on that enthusiasm to their students and keep them engaged throughout each lesson.

Interested in a teaching career in Higher Education? Falmouth Flexible's PGCHE programme helps students develop the critical skills needed to thrive in today’s flexible learning environments. 

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