What's it like teaching adults?

(34 Posts)

Hi, just need some help mulling something over if that's OK! There's a vacancy in my area for a teacher of my subject to teach the Foundation GCSE course to adults during the day. I taught secondary for 11 years (have been out a year) and I'm thinking of applying.

I've always liked the idea of teaching adults but have no idea about the realities of it compared to secondary teaching. Can anyone tell me what it's like in practice? I think it would only be one or two classes but I have no idea what that would be like in reality, and I'd like to know how the dynamics of an adult class might work and what challenges I might face. And the positives too, of course!

Any advice much appreciated smile.

Argh I garbled my way through the lesson. But it can't have been that bad - I got it! Thanks everyone for your help!

jaspercat2002 Tue 15-Oct-13 18:18:26

How did it go?

Thanks! I'm in a panic right now as I had half-planned my lesson and on re-reading the curriculum, the topic I had chosen is on the curriculum one level lower than they want me to teach. I'm going to have to start again, aren't I?

<facepalm>

jaspercat2002 Fri 11-Oct-13 16:11:47

I'm starting after half term so still a few weeks to go (probably not for the best as I am getting more and more nervous) I have been and observed a couple of classes running elsewhere though so this has helped.
Good luck for Tuesday!

When do you start Jasper? I'm ploughing my way through the curriculum and finding it all very different!

That's great advice, thanks! (I never knew that about the divide symbol either!) Got to try and think of some snappy literacy ideas now!

Love the ideas about learning styles/ coloured paper etc. Thanks!

sashh Wed 09-Oct-13 10:59:58

I'm currently shuttling between short term assignments through an agency.

Your PGCE is fine to teach adults (not that I'm bitter that my DTTLS only lets me teach children in FE colleges not schools).

Personally I would take a powerpoint on a memory stick and email and just use that on the IWB.

I think the key to micro teaching is to actually teach something. I like to have a handout for the interviewers to fill in, preferably something they have worked out.

One thing a lot of adults have never been shown is that the divide symbol is actually a fraction with dots replacing the numbers.

I could make a 10 min micro teach out of just that, I might also bring in sweets to be 'shared', although if I do that I do tell the students/interviewers that if Ofstead are around they will be pieces of fruit. Smarties are good as they are like counters, lidl has large tubes on offer at the moment.

So one tube of smarties divided by 3 people means they all get 1/3 but then count them up (you obviously need to do this first) and see what 1/3 of 16 is (or how ever many you have put in the tube)

You can then explain that this caters for visual, kinesthetic and auditory learners, and the handout underpins this for reader learners as in Fleming's VAK/VARK model of learning styles.

For extra brownie points take in he handouts in on coloured paper - either 4/5 different colours or all yellow with the text in bold in a sans serif font. The colours are for dyslexic students and the yellow for VI students. This is particularly relevant for adult learners who may not have had a diagnosis at school and this is why they have not got qualifications.

Good luck. It is THE most rewarding thing to see a light go on in an adults eyes when a penny drops and they 'get' what they have tried to understand at school when they were children, with their own children helping with homework and you are the one who has explained it to them.

Help! They want to know if I want to use a SmartBoard for the micro-teach - I am good on Smartboards but my instinct says keep it simple for 10 mins. But then they might think I can't use them?

Stress...

And what on earth do I wear?!

Aaaargh I have an interview date! It's a week on Tuesday and I have to do a 10 minute micro-teach on 'a topic suitable for stage 1 learners'. I don't know where to start!

I haven't been in a classroom for a year and I've never taught adults. How do I avoid utterly embarrassing myself?

overthemill Wed 25-Sep-13 10:02:58

and it's also hugely rewarding!

overthemill Wed 25-Sep-13 10:01:40

this is the best adult learning info ever. He taught me on my PGCE (PCE) and is so knowledgeable, it may help you. Adults are different learners from children, entirely different motivation for example.

Chottie Tue 17-Sep-13 20:23:43

Another vote for teaching adults. It is so rewarding and it is wonderful to really feel you have made a difference to someone's life.

cuggles Mon 16-Sep-13 13:45:37

Go for it Thistle, good luck!

It's hard to know what to do, isn't it? I've been reading up on teaching adult literacy and so far it's reassuringly familiar, just with a different focus.

I figure if I'm going to be useless they'll be able to tell at interview! grin hmm

cuggles Sun 15-Sep-13 18:22:11

I came on here just to start a similar thread Thistle, as I am thinking about applying for a post teaching access courses (and other level 3 maybe). I have QTS and have taught secondary for 13 years prior to 3 yrs out being a SAHM (so far). Hours are negotiable but only a year contract so I am not sure whether to figure out all the childcare for one year or whether it might be a foot in the door. But my main issue is, I haven't taught adults or the actual subject (have it as an A level though and teach a similar one now)..could I do it?? Would love it though, I think!?

It's so great to have some positive responses - I used to work with someone who used to teach adults and she hated it. Really hope they want to hire me now!

Still worried about that micro-teaching though...

Primrose123 Thu 12-Sep-13 21:53:45

Thanks Mizu, I'll do that. I love the work, so I really hope doing the course wasn't a waste of time and money!

mizu Thu 12-Sep-13 09:15:44

It is quite hard to get into an ESOL department these days with the gov cuts - we used to be quite important and classes were free but now all learners have to pay unless they are on job seekers allowance. It is still subsidised though.

The number of our P/T (adult) classes has been cut each year since 2011 and we have increased our classes for job seekers and 16-18 year olds as that is - at the moment - government priority.

I have lost 2 members of staff this year and they have not been replaced.

However, I do think that it is being at the right place at the right time. We have a member of staff who did her CELTA last year in our college and it just happened that I needed a class staffed for the year. She was recommended by the EFL dept and this year she is teaching a few classes for us (variable hours contract so no proper post but gets paid hourly which some people prefer).

I would send your CV out to colleges near you and keep volunteering.

Have you got any community projects going on in your area? We have a teacher who teaches the Chinese women's group in a community hall once a week. Also some schools with large numbers of immigrant families sometimes want classes set up for ESOL teachers to teach some of the mums from other countries who want to learn English.

It is definitely worth pursuing as the teaching is great and the learners - in the main! - are eager to learn and classes are great fun.

Primrose123 Wed 11-Sep-13 22:10:04

Mizu do you mind if I ask you a few questions? I got my PGCE with ESOL last year, and have been checking the local colleges' websites for vacancies, but there is nothing coming up. I have been volunteering in a local college for the past year, and did my placement there for the two years before that.

Do you have any suggestions of anything I could do? Any other places that might teach ESOL?

I have put searches into google with 'Esol vacancy <town name>' but it just gives vacancies all over the uk, nothing local.

AllDirections Wed 11-Sep-13 21:59:52

The City and Guilds Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector qualification is the minimum that you would need. Your PGCE is far more advanced than that and will more than suffice.

mizu Wed 11-Sep-13 21:48:36

I love it.

Teach ESOL and have mostly adult classes at L2. Also teach a couple of 16-18 classes and they are a completely different kettle of fish!

You get a lot back as the students want to be there and have chosen to improve their language/literacy skills.

It can be very, very rewarding and I always enjoy being in the classroom.

Admin and targets etc are a pain in the arse in FE and the pressure is on to get learners to achieve although I wouldn't let this put you off.

So they've sent me through all the formal application forms to fill in. On the job description it says very clearly that you need to have the City and Guilds Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector qualification and some experience teaching adults. I have neither, but they have seen my CV. Shall I just fill in the forms and send them back, or double-check with them?

I've googled the C&G course and it's a foundation level teaching qualification - no degree required, no teaching qualification required. As I have the PGCE, do you think that's why they still want to see me? Will I need to do this course anyway, to get a qualification in Adult Ed? Does anyone know?

Sounds great - I'd be doing literacy. I was thinking about how different it would be last night - even when teaching Yr 7s you can presuppose that they've had 6 years of sustained literacy teaching prior to coming to you. I guess you can't presuppose anything with adults.

jaspercat2002 Thu 05-Sep-13 11:27:15

I have been teaching adults with learning disabilities for a couple of years but am about to take on a functional skills maths course within family learning. Quite nervous as the group will be very different to what I am used to. Let me know if you want to keep in touch OP - we could swap tips as we go along!

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