Keeping the Faith: Researching as a Part-time Teacher or Teaching Fellow

By M. H. Beals

For many early careerists, the first step up the post-doctorate ladder is working as an associate lecturer or teaching fellow. The precise nature of these posts can vary widely. Some contracts are paid on an hourly basis—literally or virtually including hours for preparation and marking—while others are contracted as a percentage of a full-time equivalent position, or FTE. The latter Is more likely to include a clearly defined number of preparation and administration hours, but, like the former, these may or may not remotely resemble the amount of time you actually spend. Nor can all FTE contracts be considered full-time positions. In recent years, I have seen them range from 0.1 FTE (or a half a day) to 1.0 (or a 35 nominal hours a week) and everything in between. Moreover, as teaching staff, you will only be paid during term-time and usually not more than ten months out of a year.

In the end, whichever arrangement you and your employer reach, a teaching position is just that—teaching. Any research activities you undertake will be done without direct recompense or—in most cases—any form of financial support. If you intend to continue your research, and most certainly intend to do so, choices have to be made about how you spend your time. Many will simply put their research on hold until term breaks while others will forgo those eight daily hours they used to waste on sleep. But while a teaching fellowship can cause bone-shattering exhaustion, it does not need to. There are some choices you can make to keep your research alive, without becoming the walking dead yourself. Continue reading



Welcome to the HistoryLab+ blog!

Over the next few months our team of writers will be contributing posts on a variety of topics of interest to Early Career Historians, working both within and outwith academia.

Forthcoming posts include

  • a commentary on Open Access and the Fitch Report from our chair, Kimm Curran
  • a series on ‘what I wish I knew when’
  • help and advice from our ‘academic uncles’
  • advice on getting published in peer-reviewed journals
  • support on getting involved in historical consultancy
  • event reports from our members
  • thoughts and inspirations on teaching and learning
  • practical advice on surviving (and thriving under) the REF

If there are subjects, problems or questions you would like to see covered here, please leave a comment below.