Getting teaching experience

Getting some teaching experience is an important part of preparing for an academic career.

In universities

You first stop is to ask in your department about opportunities there. If these are limited and you don’t get a chance to teach in your own department, then you can look at other departments in LSE or other institutions. For example LSE PhD students have taught at Birkbeck, UCL, and others. It’s more difficult to find opportunities in other institutions because they are likely to look for their own PhD students first.

Networking is the best way to find out about opportunities. You can try asking your supervisor if they have contacts and making connections at conferences. You can also try looking into what courses being delivered in institutions that you would have the necessary to expertise to teach on and contacting the departments directly.

Other options

Another option to get teaching experience is Brilliant Club. This organisation places PhD students into a school part-time for a term to deliver teaching based on their research to high achieving students who might not otherwise consider university. You will be paid, will be given training on how to teach well and can do more than one term. It is also open to people who have completed their PhDs. This programme has had very positive feedback from LSE students who have taken part.

Higher education teaching qualifications

If you do get the chance to teach you might want to consider doing the PGCHE as a qualification alongside your teaching. You do need to be doing teaching while you do the PGCHE as the course involves reflecting on your teaching practice. It is offered at LSE by the Teaching and Learning Centre.

What to think about

When planning your teaching experience, think about what sort of department you might ultimately end up working in after your PhD, and try to get experience teaching on courses that might fit into that type of department. This can be an issue particularly for interdisciplinary researchers or researchers who have changed discipline, who may need to be strategic about the teaching experience they choose.

Teaching can be very time-consuming. It’s important to get the balance right. Teach enough to get experience but not so much that it interferes with your research.

Repeating the same teaching year on year may be useful for bringing money in but isn’t going to add substantially to your CV. You may wish to try to get experience teaching at different levels eg final year undergraduates if you have already taught first year undergraduates, or a different topic, to broaden your experience.