Posts Tagged ‘The History Profession’

Where did it all go wrong? History’s battle for souls

12 September 2011

By Kevin O’Sullivan

Since this is, after all, a history blog, we should probably start with the evidence. There is enough casual interest in our subject in Ireland to sustain a healthy publishing industry (peruse the catalogues of Irish Academic Press, Four Courts Press, UCD Press, UCC Press, Mercier, Gill and Macmillan et al for evidence), a dedicated monthly magazine (History Ireland), two national radio programmes (Newstalk’s Talking History and RTÉ’s The History Show), and a growing online community of bloggers and history writers. The genealogy industry continues to blossom, drawing in tourists from across the world in search of their Irish roots. Millions of others flock to Newgrange, Trinity College, Dublin Castle and a whole host of historical sites across the country. You can banquet, medieval style, at Bunratty. You can watch re-enacted cavalry training or musket fire at the Battle of the Boyne site near Drogheda. Or, if you’re not the going-out type, you can turn on the television any night of the week and watch a high-quality documentary on some period of Ireland’s recent – and not-so-recent – past (take a bow, TG4).

But still you get the feeling that something’s missing.


My first teaching term

5 January 2011

By Lisa Marie Griffith

This year, 2010-2011, I am embarking on my first year lecturing. I have sat in many teaching interviews over the last few years reciting my virtues as a scholar to the interview panel and promising that I would be a wonderful teacher and gifted communicator in the hopes of convincing the often stoney faced panel to just give me a paying job. I will have to admit that the day I was finally offered a teaching job the panic set in: I would now have to deliver all of the things I had promised. There was also a second fear: after all these years believing that I would love to teach would I actually enjoy it?

Once I had admitted these niggling fears to myself I asked friends in a similar situation about how they thought they would find their first teaching job. The response was very mixed. Some believed it would just come naturally. We had spent all this time reading books and giving papers and surely with that experience once placed in front of a class of undergraduates we would just be able to do it. We knew more than the undergraduate and if we didn’t how were they to know anyone. Undergraduates put faith in the title of PhD and that would see us through.

Other friends admitted that they had similar fears but pointed to tutoring experience as something they felt would help get them through. A few friends also seemed to think my fear was ungrounded. I now had a job, someone had believed I could undertake the job, I should just get on with it! While I was definitely grateful to finally have some gainful employment, there was still a part of me feeling that I wasn’t quite as equipped as I could be. Perhaps this is just part of my personality: I am and always have been something of a worrier and my initial thought when handed a new task is always ‘Can I do this?’ and ‘What is my best way forward?’ Read more