[NLA] Discussion: Teacher Licensing (long)
David J. Rosen
DJRosen at theworld.com
Sat Jun 29 19:14:54 EDT 2002
The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) (online) has an interesting page
describing adult literacy and other adult education teachers. I thought
some of this information might be relevant to our discussion on teacher
certification/licensing, and some other parts were an interesting
commentary on why our field will be growing. Below are some excerpts
(the underlining is mine) followed by the URL for the whole OOH page.
"Teachers--Adult Literacy and Remedial and Self-Enrichment Education
Nature of the Work | Working Conditions | Employment | Training, Other
Qualifications, and Advancement | Job Outlook | Earnings | Related
Occupations | Sources of Additional Information
* The majority of employed adult teachers work part time and receive
no benefits; many unpaid volunteers also teach these subjects.
* Opportunities for teachers of English as a Second Language are
expected to be very good, as the number of immigrants seeking classes is
expected to increase.
* Demand for self-enrichment courses is expected to rise as more
people embrace lifelong learning."
Because adult education teachers work with adult students, they do not
encounter some of the behavioral or social problems sometimes found with
younger students. Adults attend by choice, are highly motivated, and
bring years of experience to the classroom--attributes that can make
teaching these students rewarding and satisfying. However, teachers in
remedial or adult basic education deal with students who may lack
effective study skills and self-confidence have learning disabilities,
and who may require more attention and patience than other students.
Adult education teachers often feel they are not as respected by
education departments as their general education peers. Many work with
out-dated computers or in spare rooms with few resources. Funding is
rarely adequate and class sizes are often large.
Many adult education teachers work part time. Some have several
part-time teaching assignments or work a full-time job in addition to
their part-time teaching job, leading to long hours and a hectic
schedule. Classes often are held at night or on the weekends to
accommodate students who may have a job or family responsibilities.
Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement
Requirements for teaching adult literacy and remedial education,
including ESL and GED preparation, vary by State and by program.
Federally funded programs run by State and local governments usually
have higher standards than programs run by religious, community, or
volunteer organizations. Most State and local governments and education
institutions require that adult teachers have at least a bachelor's
degree and preferably a Master's degree. Some require an elementary or
secondary teaching certificate and a few have recently begun requiring a
certificate in ESL or adult education. Teaching experience, especially
with adults, also is preferred or required. Volunteers usually do not
need a bachelor's degree, but must attend a preservice training program
Most programs recommend that adult literacy and remedial education
teachers take classes on teaching adults, using technology to teach,
working with learners from a variety of cultures, and teaching adults
with learning disabilities. ESL teachers should also have courses on
second language acquisition theory and linguistics. In addition,
knowledge of the citizenship and naturalization process is very useful.
Knowledge of a second language is not necessary to teach ESL students,
but can be helpful in understanding the students' difficulties. GED
teachers should know what is required to pass the GED and be able to
instruct students in the subject matter. Training for literacy
volunteers usually consists of effective teaching practices, needs
assessment, lesson planning, materials selection, characteristics of
adult learners, and cross-cultural awareness.
Adult education teachers must have the ability to work with a variety of
cultures, languages, and educational and economic backgrounds. They must
be understanding of their students' circumstances and familiar with
their concerns. All teachers, both paid and volunteer, should be able to
communicate well and be able to motivate their students. Previous
experience as a volunteer or an aide in a literacy program is recommended.
Professional development among adult education teachers varies widely.
Because of the part-time nature of the job, attendance at classes is
difficult for many instructors. Therefore, professional development
usually consists of voluntary attendance at workshops, conferences, and
seminars 1 or 2 days per year. The Internet is playing a larger role in
helping teachers learn to expand approaches and techniques in the
classroom. They can now take online courses, join chat groups with other
teachers, and research journal articles.
There are very few opportunities for advancement in this profession.
Most jobs are part time and offer limited career potential. However,
those who do have full-time jobs often do administrative work along with
teaching. Others may go into policy work at a nonprofit organization or
perform research. The most experienced teachers may mentor new
instructors and volunteers.
The main qualification for self-enrichment teachers is expertise in the
subject area. A portfolio of one's work may be required. For example, to
secure a job teaching a photography course, an applicant would need to
show examples of previous work. Self-enrichment teachers should also
have good speaking skills and a talent for making the subject interesting.
Opportunities for jobs as adult literacy, remedial, and self-enrichment
education teachers are expected to be very good. Employment is expected
to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2010,
and a large number of job openings are expected due to the need to
replace people who leave the occupation or retire. Turnover is prevalent
in this occupation due to its many part-time jobs. In addition, a large
number of all types of teachers are expected to retire. Should a
shortage of people seeking to enter the teaching profession arise, many
of these jobs will be hard to fill.
Much of the growth in employment will be for ESL teachers who will be
needed by the increasing number of immigrants and other nonEnglish
speakers entering this country. In addition, a greater percentage of
immigrants are expected to take ESL classes. With most immigrants going
to States such as California, Florida, Texas, and New York, demand will
be greatest in these regions. However, parts of the Midwest and Plains
States have recently begun to attract large numbers of immigrants,
making for especially good opportunities in those areas.
As employers increasingly require a more literate workforce, workers'
demand will grow for all types of literacy and remedial classes. The
need for basic education and GED teachers is expected to increase
despite an increasing emphasis being placed on education. One reason is
that the standards that many school districts are imposing to improve
elementary and secondary education are causing some students who cannot
meet the new criteria for graduation to drop out of school and enroll in
adult education classes. Also, while dropout rates have declined for
whites and blacks, they remain high for foreign-born Hispanics, who make
up an increasing share of the population. Nevertheless, several branches
of the military recently have allowed those who have dropped out of
school to enlist--as long as they pass the GED first. This is expected
to bring in new recruits and create demand for GED teachers.
The demand for literacy and basic education often fluctuates with the
economy. When the economy is good and workers are hard to find,
employers relax their standards and hire workers without a degree or
GED. As the economy softens, more students find they need additional
education to get a job. However, adult education classes are often
subject to funding level changes, which can cause the number of teaching
jobs to fluctuate from year to year. When this happens, volunteers may
take the place of paid teachers.
As the baby boomers begin to retire and have more time to take classes
and as more people embrace lifelong learning, the need for
self-enrichment teachers will grow. Subjects that are not easily
researched on the Internet and those that provide hands-on experiences
will be in greater demand. Classes on spirituality and self-improvement
are expected to be popular along with courses that provide hands-on
experiences, like cooking and the arts. Topics related to current trends
are always well-received.
Median hourly earnings of adult literacy and remedial education teachers
and GED instructors were $16.12 in 2000. The middle 50 percent earned
between $12.20 and $21.17. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.47,
and the highest 10 percent earned more than $28.50. Part-time adult
literacy and remedial education and GED instructors are generally paid
by the hour or by the class and receive no benefits. Full-time teachers
are usually paid a salary and receive good benefits if they work for a
school system or government. "
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