A day in the life of a varsity lecturer

Stella Procopiou Ribeiro, lecturer,
Stella Procopiou Ribeiro, lecturer, "I love my job". pic MARIANNE SCHWANKHART 23.10.09. © Sunday Times.

WHAT does a day in the life of a senior lecturer entail?

Typically my day is spent preparing for classes, setting tests and exams for my students and consulting students and assisting them in gaining a better understanding of the subject that I lecture.

I also spend a fair amount of time furthering my own studies and knowledge through research. My days are fairly flexible and this is more a description of how I would spend time throughout the week.

Why did you decide on this career?

I have always had a passion for teaching and sharing knowledge. At the same time I loved accounting. Lecturing in this field is a great combination of my two strongest passions. I am able to pass on knowledge in accounting and, ultimately, make a difference in someone's life.

How did you get into this career?

I studied accounting at university and during my Certificate in the Theory of Accounting (honours) year, I was offered a position as an academic articled clerk. During that year I assisted with lecturing, setting tests and exams and consulted with students. I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the job. A few years later I heard of an available position, applied for the job and got it.

What's challenging about the job?

It is not easy to address a large number of students and to get through to all of them as they have different levels of understanding and comprehension.

As a lecturer it is all about finding the correct balance that will assist as many students as possible.

What do you enjoy most about being a lecturer?

There is nothing more rewarding than knowing that I am helping to shape someone's life and career. It is a very satisfying profession in terms of the sense of fulfilment one gets from having helped an individual to excel in their studies.

What type of person will make a success of this position?

To be an effective lecturer one needs to have a good knowledge of the subject matter, good communication skills and be confident, approachable and understanding.

What subjects do you need to pass in high school to be able to study towards this career?

There are no specific qualifications that teach you how to lecture. Lecturers are appointed after they have qualified in a specific field of study based on the requirements of each faculty.

What does one study at tertiary level to be able to get into this career?

It depends on your area of interest . I am a qualified chartered accountant and lecture accountancy.

What growth prospects are there for this career?

One could become a professor, a dean of a faculty or even a vice-chancellor of the university.

What career opportunities exist for a senior lecturer?

Lecturers are able to develop their careers as academics by focusing on excellence in teaching and learning as well as through research on their specialised fields. This could result in promotion to a professorship.

What is the starting salary for a senior lecturer?

This depends on various aspects, namely the institution you lecture at, your qualifications, your field of expertise, etc.