How difficult is it for an experienced university instructor to teach at a community college?
Just a “Junior” College?
While Joliet Junior College retains its original moniker, most two-year colleges in my home state of Illinois bill themselves as “community” colleges. A few, like Harper College, have dropped the word community from their name. In other states like Wisconsin (Love this state! We have a second home in Wisconsin and spend nearly every weekend hear. Oops. Sorry. You readers will soon discover that I sometimes get a bit sidetracked. Back to the matter at hand.) they have “technical” colleges. In reality, if I say “community college” assume that I am talking about all two-year public colleges. Community college adjuncts confront some very unique challenges which I will discuss in upcoming postings. I am not going to steal my own thunder, but I will say one thing for now. This is something I told my doctoral dissertation committee, but only after I defended my dissertation. 🙂 Anyone can teach at a research university; you have to be good to teach at a community college.
They Never Said It Would Be Easy
There are so many challenges associated with teaching Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses. In case you are not familiar with term, these include coursework in disciplines like computer technology, electronics technology, Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and automotive maintenance just to name of few. More often than not, these courses include both lecture and lab work. The lab component is one area where new adjuncts may struggle, and that is one of the issues I will address in the future. Another challenge for those of you teaching CTE courses is that you were hired because of your knowledge and experience in the discipline, not because you have considerable teaching experience. The challenges confronted by a first-time CTE instructor will also be addressed, as will advice to keep you from, to use the vernacular, not crashing and burning. CTE students themselves may present a challenge for some instructors. Many CTE students are gifted when it comes to working with their hands, but the “book learning” doesn’t come easily. Strategies for dealing with and helping these students will be included in future posts.