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    The story of Samantha: the teaching performances and inauthenticities of an early career human geography lecturer

    Wilkinson, S (2018) The story of Samantha: the teaching performances and inauthenticities of an early career human geography lecturer. Higher Education Research and Development, 38 (2). pp. 398-410. ISSN 0729-4360

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    This paper offers an autoethnographic account of my first academic year as a Human Geography lecturer at a ‘new’ public university in the North West of England. This research is timely and much needed, since teaching at universities in England has recently come under increasing scrutiny. The Teaching Excellence Framework is a new scheme, which aims to recognise and reward excellence in teaching, learning, and outcomes, and helps to inform student choice. This paper is theoretically framed by drawing on notions of theatrical performance, and performativity. This paper offers insight into the coping strategies, in respect of teaching, that I deployed as a new university lecturer. Findings are discussed around the themes of: performing teaching identities, and inauthenticity. With regard to performing teaching identities, this paper discusses the need for identity to be multiple and shifting, and how, as a young female, I undertook identity work, in order to perform competence. I also bring to the fore feelings of inauthenticity; that is, how I did not feel as if I was a genuine academic, and how I fabricated / falsified aspects of my academic identity in order to ‘fit in’ with the expectations of both students and staff. As the voice of a new lecturer in her first year of teaching, this paper makes a useful contribution to the scholarship on early career academics and teaching development. This paper concludes with recommendations for change in practice-based settings, in order to assist new lecturers to settle into the job role, and enhance and enrich teaching practice.

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