Teaching awards as an anathema to stress

In an increasingly pressurised, corporatized, “business-like and competitive” (Marginson, 2013) higher education sector, it can often feel like we are all hamsters in the wheel with barely time to pause for breath. It is undeniable that the nature of work in universities has changed. We are being asked to do more, deliver more, and work harder under what seems to be the watchful eye of accountability and the spectre of compliance. In this somewhat grim picture, there are however oases of calm; opportunities to pause, reflect and take that much needed breath. Applying for a teaching award is one such oasis.

Writing a teaching award application is essentially a narrative process, or form of “autoethnographic writing” (Prior, 2010). It calls for reflection on personal experience, and the telling of your story. For a compelling read, it is often helpful if you have a particular problem or faced a significant turning point of some kind. A narrative twist. This is often represented through things like: teaching challenging/complex material; teaching to large cohorts; responding to an external impetus to make changes; being consistently committed to student engagement in the discipline; responding to industry needs; etc. Whatever your teaching story, it has intrinsic value and if you are having significant impact, it deserves recognition. Perhaps more importantly, you deserve to treat yourself to time out; to pause, reflect and recharge before you jump back into the hamster wheel.

Visit the awards website now for information and contact details.

Marginson, S. (2013). The impossibility of capitalist markets in higher education. Journal of Education Policy28(3), 353-370.

Prior, R. (2010). The hidden side of a teaching award application. In Rethinking learning in your discipline. Proceedings of the University Learning and Teaching Futures Colloquium.”

Written by Anna Smith
Project Officer, Learning and Teaching, CILT

Posted in
Awards and Grants

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