Teaching: on the front line

July 2, 2004

What is your experience of teaching?

Name : Eleni Theodoraki

Age : 35

Job : Lecturer in sports management and warden of Telford Hall of Residence, Loughborough University

Salary : Lecturer B scale and wardens' honorarium, £38,480 per year

Qualifications : BEd in physical education and sports science from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, PhD in organisational analysis of sports federations from the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Loughborough.

Background :I was Greek national rowing champion in 1986 and volunteered at the 1991 Sheffield World Student Games and the Barcelona 1992 Olympics.

More recently, I worked as strategic planning consultant to the organising committee for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and ran cultural preparation training sessions for the British Olympic and Paralympic Athens 2004 team managers.

Hours spent teaching : I have an average of five hours of lectures and another five on PhD, postgraduate and undergraduate students' supervision.

Hours on red tape : We do not have much red tape. There are administrative tasks I carry as programme leader of the BSc in sports and leisure management that on average take up about two to three hours a week. I am also coordinator of a partnership with the International Olympic Academy in Greece, which involves organising and carrying out the examination of people participating in the academy's postgraduate seminar.

Hours on research : Between ten and 15 hours a week. The research culture here is very strong and I am working with bright PhD students and helpful colleagues.

Teaching bugbear : The need to offer interesting, challenging and academically suitable topics to the international MSc students whose projects I am supervising.

How did you solve it? I presented the students with the opportunity to work in groups with data I had collected from a previous research field trip overseas. Not only have they welcomed the topics but they are also supporting each other by exchanging ideas in group tutorials and are working in absolute synergy.

Worst teaching moment? My first lecture when I lacked the confidence to venture beyond my copious lecture notes. Other bad moments occur when students fail. Ultimately, I feel partly responsible.

Best teaching moment? Being so proud when my students achieve distinction and/or receive awards.

My teaching tip : Be enthusiastic about the subject. It is contagious.

Outside interests : I look after the 175 students who live in the Telford Hall of Residence.

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