All types of teaching careers require successful educators to be patient, genuinely caring and a source of inspiration for their students. Adult education is unique because older learners know exactly what they want to get out of a course. They ask insightful questions and they test the boundaries of current knowledge. This is an exciting field but you should have certain traits and qualifications to be a successful adult educator.
You have an enduring passion for your field.
A Doctor of Education in Teaching and Learning with an Emphasis in Adult Learning degree program will help you understand pedagogy but your core classes won’t focus on the subject you wish to teach. You should already have extensive knowledge of your field and an eagerness to learn more every day. Whether you’re going to teach art history or biology, graduate students will expect you to have a vast wealth of knowledge and original insight. Effective grad school teachers are those who love to spend their spare time reading academic journals.
You are actively contributing to the body of knowledge for your field.
Reading the latest emerging research is a good start but you’ll have to go a step further if you expect to teach grad school. There’s a reason why professors are haunted by that old saying, “Publish or perish.” But if you have passion for your field this shouldn’t intimidate you. Effective professors are those who offer new insight for familiar material and dig deeper to conduct original research that adds something of value to their field.
You are driven to serve others.
While you’re juggling your own original research, you’ll be assisting your students in conducting theirs. A career in adult education is ideal for individuals who live to serve others. You should have a knack for inspiring your students, encouraging them to overcome obstacles and suggesting new directions for their research that they might not have thought of. You should also feel comfortable setting challenges to push your students to reach higher and you should be able to offer constructive criticism and honest feedback.
You have excellent presentation and communication skills.
At heart, teachers are communicators. It goes without saying that you should feel comfortable speaking before groups of students. You should also have a knack for explaining complex topics in a way that captures the attention and sparks the interest of your students. Good teaching can have an element of showmanship. That is, the way you present information can be just as impactful as the content of the course. If you are a little unsure of your communication and presentation skills, these are areas you can improve upon.
Learners at Grand Canyon University share a love of learning and a commitment to serve others. Our College of Doctoral Studies invites you to apply for our Doctor of Education in Teaching and Learning with an Emphasis in Adult Learning degree program. Look for the Request More Information button on the website.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.