Edinburgh University Students’ Association’s Student-Led Teaching Awards are back to recognise outstanding members of learning and support staff. After a challenging year for everyone, we’re celebrating our worthy nominees by shouting about their successes across our digital platforms.
What is your full name?
Carlos Soler Montes
What is your job title?
Lecturer in Spanish Linguistics
What school or service do you work in?
School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role.
I am a Lecturer at the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures where I teach Hispanic Linguistics and advanced Spanish Language courses. I started working at The University of Edinburgh in 2015 as a Teaching Fellow and e-Learning Coordinator. I am currently the Learning and Teaching Director of the Department of European Languages and Cultures. I was the winner of the 2017 EUSA Teaching Award for Best Feedback.
What does it mean to you to have been nominated for a Teaching Award this year?
This academic year has been the most challenging one I remember in my twenty years of university teaching career. Receiving the EUSA nomination today has been the happiest moment of my week. I now feel motivated and inspired to continue improving despite the difficulties of our current context and making my students’ learning experience enjoyable and thus successful. Thank you to my Hispanic Linguistics students. You are amazing!
What’s your favourite part of your role and working with students?
I love the 1:1 nature of Dissertation supervision, facilitating a student to explore a topic that is meaningful to them personally. Seeing the ‘aha’ moments and surprise that writing a dissertation can actually be fun is very special!
How have you adapted your approach to teaching and supporting students under the Hybrid Model this year?
Sometimes it has been hard – to be able to pick up the messages about how a student is feeling, or what they really need for support has been challenging, but spending extra time checking in, getting attuned to emotion and expression and making sure ‘how are you doing’ comes before ‘what are you doing’ over Teams and emails has been important.
What’s been the biggest challenge in your role this year?
Missing out on the IRL contact with students and colleagues has meant that the ‘by the way’ corridor and coffee conversations where you notice something important (personal or educational) isn’t there. Having said that, the close 1-1 support through meeting in TEAMs, sharing resources in the chat and keeping in more regular email contact has worked well.
What would you say to the student(s) who nominated you, or students who are considering submitting a nomination for a staff member who has had an impact on them?
It was a superb surprise and it feels very rewarding, regardless of what happens next. Casually employed staff often lose out in these sort of things, so to be recognised for putting in so much commitment and effort is amazing. It gives you the impetus to keep going.
To find out more about the Teaching Awards and browse nomination categories, please visit the Students’ Association’s website.