Sasha Handley is a Teaching Fellow in History (12 months) at the
What is your background?
I did my postgraduate degrees at the
What initially attracted you to your job?
I was looking to gain teaching experience in an academic
institution with a view to getting a full time post.
Define your job?
I teach a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate
courses in early modern history.
Can you walk me through your day to day activities?
My job includes writing courses, giving lectures, taking
seminars, setting and marking assessed coursework and examinations, pastoral
care, supervising undergraduate and MA dissertations and administration.
How has your job changed in the last 5 to 10 years?
N/A – this is my first academic position, I was a student
What are the key issues facing your sector?
Lack of government funding and heavy pressure to publish
original research, often compromising the quality of teaching.
How does government legislation affect your job?
The Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) dictates the
parameters of most academic jobs, prioritising research over teaching.
Government-funding decisions directly affects my salary.
What impact has technology had on your job?
I use a laptop/desktop computer on a daily basis, the
internet provides invaluable resources for teaching. Likewise photocopiers,
scanners and projectors are used in my daily activities.
What are the best things and worst things about your job?
Best things about the job include the freedom to work on my
own areas of historical interest, to arrange my weekly timetable to a certain
extent, and the satisfaction that comes from teaching students effectively and
Do you have any horror stories?
What attributes do you need/what are you looking for when
hiring someone in your role?
You need a BA, MA, PhD and a fair amount of teaching
experience, at least at undergraduate level. This job also requires effective
time management, organisational skills and the ability to communicate clearly
What piece of advice do you wish
someone had given you when you were first starting out?
I’ve been lucky, having been given lots and lots of useful
advice by colleagues, supervisors and friends. If I had to give advice, it
might be to learn how to be assertive with colleagues and students.
What are your three favourite or most useful websites?
Google and the BBC.