Enrichment Classes and Specialized Teaching (page 2)
Topics to Consider
What kind of self-enrichment classes could you teach? Make a list of topics in which you feel you have expertise. Then, you could put the results in several categories. For example, you could arrange them from the classes you would most like to teach to the ones you would least like to. You could put them in the order of how well you know each one—could you teach a beginning, moderate, or advanced level course? Just remember to look beyond what you've covered in your classroom classes to more personal subjects. Here is a list of possibilities that might inspire you. What else can you think of?
- cooking or baking
- personal finance
- time management
- creative writing
- musical instrument
- glass art
- jewelry art
- graphic arts
- wine appreciation
- flower arranging
- wood crafts
- home improvement
- interior decorating
- pet care
- foreign language
- American Sign Language
- test preparation
- world religions
- fashion design
- computer care and troubleshooting
- home buying
- real estate investing
- dating and relationships
- herbal medicine
- automotive care
- job preparation (interviewing, writing resumes, etc.)
- hiking and camping skills
- marriage preparation
- literacy or ESL tutoring
Changing Your Typical Class Structure
Many skills you used in the classroom will be put to work in self-enrichment classes as well. You will still need to develop lesson plans. Depending on the topic, you may have to adjust how much time you spend lecturing as opposed conducting to hands-on lessons and demonstrations. Instead of homework assignments, you will most likely encourage your students to work on projects (either during class, in their free time, or both) or do some reading in preparation for the next meeting. Since these classes are voluntary for students, the only ones to pay the price for not doing the work are the students themselves; there are no report cards or GPAs.
How long each course is depends on what you plan to teach. For example, you might teach one afternoon class on how to use beads to make a necklace, or you could teach a month-long course on sewing, taking students from pattern and material to a finished, wearable project. You could have a two-week course on baking bread or a six-month course on Mediterranean dishes. Other lessons, such as playing musical instruments, singing, and other arts, can go on as long as you and the students want them to, as there is always something more to learn.
- "Look at what you are planning to teach with the geographic area around you in mind. Are there other teachers of the same subject? Is it because the subject is popular and there is plenty of room for more teachers in this area? Why is no one else teaching your topic? Is it because there is no interest or is the interest there but there are no teachers with the appropriate knowledge? Are there enough children in your area in the age range you want to teach?"
—Stephanie Quinn, Start a Business Teaching Kids
The downsides of this job are almost the same as with tutoring—many times, students will fail to show up or do their projects because this isn't considered a real class with real grades and real consequences. Many times, classes won't even get off the ground because not enough people sign up, even though you have done all the prep work. People will not pay you when and what they are supposed to. You might get burned out on teaching again. All of these are possibilities to be aware of before making any final decisions about a career change to this new type of teaching.
Statistics show that this field is going to grow at a much faster than average speed through 2016. A growing number of adult learners are interested in developing new skills and pursuing new interests, and that means they need teachers. The average income for these teachers was $16.08 an hour in 2006. Typically, self-enrichment class teachers are paid by the hour.
Interested in this field? Consider these questions and think about how the answers might affect this career choice:
- Are you comfortable charging for your services and then doing the necessary paperwork to collect and apply the fees?
- Are there community colleges and other organizations in your area that need teachers for their nonacademic courses?
- Are you able to multitask enough to teach a variety of different classes at the same time?
- How close to academic subjects do you want to stick? Are you more comfortable with teaching accounting tips than flirting techniques?
- What are the top five classes that you would feel comfortable teaching? What do you think the market is for them in your area? Do some research to find out.
- How many hours do you need to work to secure the income you are hoping for?
- How many students could you handle at any one time considering the topic you want to pursue most?
- Are there any colleagues, former students or others that could write testimonials and/or reference letters for you?
- Can you write and distribute your own advertising with confidence?
- Is this type of teaching enough of a change to warrant quitting your job or do you want to try and combine it with your full-time job instead?
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