Shortly after receiving the news that I had been made a Teaching Fellow of the University I found myself talking to a number of colleagues from other institutions involved in teacher education. I must admit to being a little embarrassed when my host, who I had told about the Fellowship in a quiet conversation, introduced me to the assembled company by announcing that I had just received the honour. They were generous with their congratulations and compliments but more to the point here, is that they were all seethingly jealous that I worked in an institution that recognised teaching in this way! We’re all obviously very aware of the pressures associated with the REF and notwithstanding those academics in every institution will doubtless have a plethora of things they are in the midst of researching or would dearly love to research. And research of course bring many types of rewards both to individuals and their institutions. However, the business of imparting what is discovered through research and encouraging and equipping new people to follow their own research interests through what we in the trade call ‘teaching’ can sometimes seem overshadowed by the business of research. The danger of this of course is that we end up with a research community that does research for the sake of research: without people to teach its findings, research can neither be applied, questioned or developed by others. How lucky we are then that, at Reading at least, teaching is recognised and rewarded.
The University Teaching Fellowship and Early Career Teaching Fellowship Scheme affords colleagues the opportunity of reviewing what they have done in their programme based teaching in the greater context of how this may have addressed the University’s priorities for teaching and learning. Personally I found this a valuable exercise. It wasn’t so much a question of looking at it all and thinking, ‘goodness, what a lot I’ve done and what a jolly good fellow I must be!’ as seeing, for the first time really, how the work that I had been doing did indeed reflect and contribute to the University’s grander project. In turn, this realisation enabled me to see how I might contribute further and meeting other Fellows for the first time genuinely excited me about the possibilities of sharing ideas and expertise in teaching methods among new colleagues and, ultimately, students. So thank you CDoTL for this scheme. It’s good to be a fellow and I jolly well intend to make the best of it.