You may remember how you got started as adjunct instructor but what inspires you to continue teaching?
The instructional duties of an adjunct requires advanced planning and time management skills, especially if you are working full time and have other responsibilities to balance. If you teach in a traditional classroom you have to plan for a class that typically meets once a week for an average of two or three hours; and if you teach online it is expected that you will be actively engaged and present in your class throughout the week. What inspires you to devote the time necessary to create a meaningful learning experience, knowing that you will need to make a significant commitment of your time?
Many instructors describe teaching as something they are passionate about doing and it results from a desire to share knowledge and experience they’ve acquired, while also helping students develop academic skills, self-motivation, self-confidence, and self-empowerment. Another reason for teaching is a love of learning and this is aligned with the work of an educator, which requires ongoing professional self-development and a need to stay current in their field.
Inspired to Share Knowledge
Do you find that you have a desire to share your knowledge and background with students? Most instructors are working in a field related to their classes and they also have advanced education related to the subject matter. This adds depth to the class discussions because you understand the course concepts and can translate theory in a way that allows students to view it in the context of the real world.
Your knowledge also strengthens the class assignments because you know if students are on the right track with their analyses, research, and projects. For example, undergraduate students often submit written assignments that address organizational issues from a “should” or “needs to” perspective, without considering the potential implications or reality of their proposed solutions. Through the use of Socratic questioning and feedback you are able to guide students in the right direction and encourage them to explore alternative perspectives.
Inspired to Teach Self-Development
Do you have a desire to help students do something more in class than acquire content-specific knowledge? Do you see students as individuals and have an interest in learning about their needs? As any instructor knows, there isn’t a set of characteristics or qualities that can be applied to all students because they each possess an individualized approach to learning and have a variety of skills and abilities. The process of teaching involves being able to quickly assess and interpret where each student is at, from an academic skill set perspective, and knowing how to assist them.
Working with students requires patience, emotional intelligence, and strong communication skills – if you are going to connect with them and develop productive working relationships. Helping students develop skills such as writing and critical thinking can be very rewarding because you watch a shift in their perspective and approach to interacting with their environment. As they discover a capacity to learn they become more self-confident and over time their self-motivation increases. This is the essence of self-empowerment – when students understand that their work and effort produces a positive result, including the accomplishment of their goals.
Inspired by Lifelong Learning
Do you have a love of learning? Another reason why someone would choose to work as an adjunct instructor is that they are passionate about their career field and enjoy reading about research, topics, and trends for the field. As an educator it is absolutely essential to stay up-to-date so that your instructional approach relates to current thinking in the field. A passion for acquiring and sharing knowledge will also teach your students how to become lifelong learners.
As you review the reasons why you are inspired to teach you are likely to think about the sense of personal and professional fulfillment that results from helping students reach their academic goals. While the work of an adjunct often requires a substantial investment of time it is part of the process of teaching that you accept as being necessary for the benefit of your students. The opportunity to share your knowledge and experience, while teaching self-developmental skills, can be transformative for you and your students.