Adult literacy and remedial self-enrichment teachers instruct their students in courses that are taken either for pleasure or for improving their knowledge in needed areas. Most adults consult these teachers for help in basic skills they need to further their education by going to college or starting a new job that requires more knowledge. Both academic and life skills are taught on various different levels by these educators. Teachers who specialize in remedial education will teach either adult basic education or adult secondary education. Basic education is designed for adults ranking below and 8th grade level, while secondary focuses on high school, earning a GED or diploma. Self-enrichment instructors teach a wide variety of classes, which are taken by students on a voluntary basis.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics submitted reports in 2008, showing the average hourly wages of self-enrichment and remedial education teachers to be $17.17 per hour. Of this group, the middle 50% earned an average hourly wage between $12.50 and $24.98. The 10th percentile earned less than $9.15, while the 90th percentile earned more than $32.68 per hour. The BLS also stated that on average, most of these teachers are paid by the hour for each class they teach, with the wage amount sometimes having a relationship to the number of students that are enrolled in each class. Full-time teachers in this profession earned the best wages and also enjoyed benefits, while part-time teachers were not afforded benefits in most cases and were paid less on average.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Job Description and Outlook
Teachers who specialize in self-enrichment will have the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of subjects in which to offer instruction. Some examples of self-enrichment classes for improving life skills are cooking, finance and time management. Classes taken for pleasure may include subjects such as photography, foreign languages, painting, potter or singing. Teachers also conduct classes in academics, such as history, literature and math. These teachers must be very organized and have good communication skills. Organization is especially important because classes usually last between a few days and a month. It is also beneficial for teachers to have a system in place to learn and remember student names. Being able to connect with students on a personal level will enhance their overall educational experience; this task is hard to do with several short classes back-to-back each year.
These teachers must know what the personal goals of each student are. Some students may be taking the class for fun, while others may need to take it to learn valuable job skills. Knowing what each student needs will help the teacher decide how to best deliver instruction to each one. Classes may include some students who are not very communicative; the teacher should have an attention to detail, in order to identify these students who need more assistance. Self-enrichment and remedial adult teachers must also be familiar with computers, word processing programs, general office equipment, projectors and other technology used for teaching. Teachers should also be sensitive to the needs of students with learning, physical or mental disabilities. Cultural and religious sensitivity is also necessary.
Training and Education Requirements
Self-enrichment teachers have different requirements than teachers who plan to specialize in elementary or high school education. Some self-enrichment and remedial teachers are self-employed, making them subject only to minimum state laws. Those employed by schools or colleges may be required to show proof of formal education in the area they are specializing, but not every educational institution has the same requirements. Some may require a degree; others may simply require a certificate of completion in a program. For example, a language teacher may only be required to show proficiency or a completion certificate in that language, but not be required to hold a degree. There are opportunities for advancement in this field, but they do have limits. Part-time teachers may be able to upgrade to a full-time position, eventually becoming a department director. Teachers with experience may be able to teach student teachers also.
Each state has different requirements for adult educators teaching remedial or self-enrichment courses. Some states require these professionals to earn a teaching license, while others may only require a certificate from an approved training class. Also required in some states is a competency exam and a large amount of paperwork. The majority of these teachers are not required to be certified, though. Certification will also be dependent upon the area of specialty a teacher chooses. Self-employed teachers generally have far fewer requirements regarding certification than those who are employed by an educational institution.
Two associations teachers commonly work with are TESOL, which is related to language learning, and the International Reading Association. Apart from these two associations, most teachers seek organizational memberships or connections with associations related directly to their specialty. Each state has its own association for teachers, which is one of the most common memberships sought. By joining a professional association, these teachers will enjoy networking with other self-enrichment and adult remedial teachers. They will also be provided regularly with educational information and relevant updates.