Monday, August 2, 2021

Should I Go To Community College


The best job I have had was as a tenured professor at a mid-sized community college.  Not only was I able to personally connect with my students, but I felt as though I was making a real positive impact on their life.

Community college professors are a unique breed.  For most community colleges, a professor needs to be an expert in their field of expertise but does not need to have all of the educational/teaching training required for a high school environment.  However, every community college that I have taught at provides extensive access to professional development and teaching tools for their faculty.  Because these instructors don't have to worry about writing grants or doing basic research, they get to focus 100% on their students and their success. 

Teaching at a community college pays little.  Community colleges are often located in urban hubs, which can lead to a difficult to commute for instructors.  Also, community college classes are offered when the students need them, often at times outside of core work hours of other jobs.  So professors teach evenings, weekends, and summers.  I worked at a community college because I loved it and the students.  This workforce of dedicated mentors has an impact greater than just the content they provide.

As a professor, I liked that my classes were smaller than the lectures I had learned in.  This allowed for me to really talk to my students and understand who they were and their challenges.  Most of my students were motivated to learn, which made teaching more rewarding.  There were many non-traditional students, who were training to a new career field.  They were hungry to learn about my previous work experience to validate their course work choices.  I was also able to teach the content from an applied perspective.  Since I had been working for years actually using the skills I was teaching, I could emphasize the depth of knowledge needed for subtopics, and help them focus on what they really needed to know to be successful. For students who needed help with study skills, and how to learn the materials, I was also able to help guide them to prioritize tasks and be better overall students.

I spent many hours with my students in and out of class.  I saw these people set and achieve goals and change their life path.  But it wasn't all because of the instructors, I saw the students working to support each other to be successful. Younger students helping grandmothers to submit their assignments online.  Older students helping the younger ones to learn the responsibility of meeting assigned deadlines.  There was truly a community built around the classroom, that was inclusive of all the students.  This was something I had never had in my large state school undergraduate education.

Are you thinking about attending a community college?  Have you or someone you known had a positive experience related to non-traditional education?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Daily Writing Response 6/300

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