How can I use my teaching skills to help people?
October 9, 2008 12:44 PM   Subscribe

In what ways can I use my recently-found software teaching skills to help people?

This past year, I've started teaching evening classes in some of the Adobe suite applications (InDesign, Photoshop) at a local design school. It's been an incredibly different, challenging and enriching experience for me, and I was surprised and happy to find that I get very good feedback as a teacher. Now I'm wondering whether I can expand my role as a software teacher, but maybe in a way that might help underprivileged young adults or the unemployed. I'm kind of vague on what kinds of organizations, if any, might need this kind of help; my thought is that in this economy, people who are looking for a different career might want to learn design or page layout. Is that realistic? Should I instead look for one-on-one tutoring opportunities?
posted by TochterAusElysium to Education (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I teach adult eduction classes in Photoshop Elements at a local adult education program. A lot of the people I teach are people in another field -- artists, woodworkers, B&B owners -- who have to learn some photo editing basics in order to be able to do things like make promotional materials or get a photo on to a website or include it in PR materials. Most of the stuff I teach isn't even "design" per se, it's learning about graphics and photos and learning about the tool. My class is maybe 4-6 two hour sessions and the pay is decent not exceptional. You could probably make more doing one on one tutoring but I feel that the scheduling headaches with that become like half your job.
posted by jessamyn at 1:03 PM on October 9, 2008

Thanks, jessamyn; I should have added that I have a "day job" and so the pay is secondary. And I don't really teach design either, just the technical aspects of using the programs, but it's part of a series of classes that focus on design. Is the adult education program you mentioned part of a community college? I'd thought about contacting some around here but assumed I'd need a teaching degree, or certification of some kind.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 1:31 PM on October 9, 2008

Mine's through the local vocational high school but there are similar classes via the local crafts center. I think if you Google "adult education" and your region it should be pretty easy to establish who is teaching classes. Often it's community colleges and they don't seem to require any sort of certification or anything if you're not teaching for credit but just for "enrichment" courses.
posted by jessamyn at 1:45 PM on October 9, 2008

Contact community colleges about being adjunct faculty. You do not need a teaching degree, and you might not even need experience. They want people who work in the industry and are specialists with software. You'll find yourself teaching the exact population you mention in your question - folks looking for additional skills to change or further their career.

You might also contact your state or county or township or other municipality to see if they have any workforce retraining programs. The Adobe suite may be too specialized for a program like that, but if you really wanted to teach, you could teach basic computer skills/building a first web site/formatting a resume - that kind of stuff.

The above agencies might also be able to direct you to vocational training programs for at-risk youth - I helped with something like that this summer.

Your local library also might be interested in you leading a class occasionally. Mine has "adult development" classes all the time.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 2:37 PM on October 9, 2008

I should have mentioned that community colleges will require at least a bachelor's degree, and usually want a master's. But if they have a need for teachers with certain skills, and you have those skills, you will have a good shot.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 2:40 PM on October 9, 2008

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