Sessional Teachers can be tutors, casual lecturers, demonstrators, clinical tutors, or people from the professions or industry. Casual academic staff are responsible to the Head of School and are assigned responsibilities by the Head. Direct day-to-day duties are usually assigned by the Topic Coordinator.
Your job as a supervisor is to integrate sessional staff into the academic culture of your Faculty and School. Thorough integration will allow them to perform their job and to progress professionally.
To begin with, explore this generic Staff Induction Guide for Supervisors (Human Resources website). It includes several useful checklists, as well as a comprehensive contact list for obtaining assistance.
Build on what you learn by investigating what Faculty or School-based resources and development opportunities are available to you.
Increasingly, topic coordinators are called on to co-teach with a group of casually employed tutors and demonstrators, to ensure that students get adequate interaction in their classes. These tutors are often Higher Degree students who are teaching for the first time. As a topic coordinator, you will be in charge of guiding them towards appropriate teaching strategies and clarifying their understanding of the topic's core learning intentions.
You may want to plan and develop a program of support that is tailored to meet the disciplinary needs of the sessional staff in your Faculty. You could offer induction sessions, professional development workshops, lunchtime seminars focused on a particular topic, mentoring and/or peer observation.
Consider including the following topics in your support program:
- Introduction to teaching and learning in your Faculty
- Creating a supportive classroom environment
- Facilitating interaction
- Developing Inclusive Learning and Teaching Practices
- Planning Teaching Activities to Achieve Learning Outcomes
- Engaging and Energising your Students
- Strategies for Handling Challenging Situations
- Marking and Assessment
- Providing meaningful Feedback to Students
- Gathering meaningful Feedback on your Teaching
- Balancing your Workload.
For ideas about sessional staff training, take a look at the Tutors at UQ website
Read this document about Motivating Teachers for help creating a welcoming and supportive environment for your sessional staff.