Adult Literacy Teacher Job Description
Adult literacy teachers provide instruction to adult students who want to improve their reading, writing, and English skills. In some cases, they also help students who were unable to complete high school and want to earn their GED.
Before students are admitted into an adult literacy program, teachers or other staff members evaluate their skills and abilities. The teachers are then able to use the assessment to help the individual students meet their goals.
Students in a class may have very different levels of knowledge and ability, and teachers need to develop methods of teaching that allow them to meet the needs of each student. If a class has students of many different levels, this can be very challenging.
One of the ways that teachers can help all of their students learn is by providing them with individual attention. Since adults normally need less supervision than children do, it’s much easier for adult literacy teachers to customize their programs to individuals than it is for teachers who work with younger students.
Not all adult literacy teachers work in a classroom setting, though. Some are more like tutors, and work with students on an individual basis.
The exact type of work that adult literacy teachers do varies depending on their area of specialty. Here are a few of the most common types of adult literacy teachers:
English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers teach students how to speak English. Their students are normally immigrants from other countries who want to improve their English so they can improve their employment opportunities and make everyday tasks easier. In some cases, they prepare their students to take the United States citizenship exam.
Working as an ESL teacher can be challenging. Sometimes, students in a single class speak many different languages. Since neither the teacher or the students share a native language in those situations, developing effective communication skills and teaching methods can be difficult at times. Teachers need to have a great deal of patience, and they must be willing to work closely with their students.
Secondary education teachers prepare students to take the GED. These students need to pass tests in science, social studies, reading, writing, and mathematics, so secondary education teachers provide training in each of these subjects. They also teach problem solving and communication skills that students can use throughout their lives and careers.
Adult basic education teachers teach basic math, reading, and writing skills. Their students are normally below an eight grade education level, and need to improve their abilities to improve their employment opportunities.
Work Environment and Schedule
Adult literacy teachers work in many different environments. Community colleges, public schools, community organizations, and even prisons are all common places for people in this occupation to work.
Unlike most teachers who work during the day, adult literacy teachers generally work evenings and mornings. Because most adults work during the day, they have to offer their classes at times that fall outside of regular working hours.
Adult literacy teachers often work with people who have a desire to learn. Unlike students in high schools or middle schools, students who attend these programs are there by choice. This can make the occupation very rewarding, and removes a lot of the stress that is associated with many teaching positions.
Since they work an abnormal schedule, some adult literacy teachers work an additional job that they can perform during normal business hours, and then teach their classes in the evenings.
How to Become an Adult Literacy Teacher
A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in education is required to work as an adult literacy teacher in most states. However, some states require a master’s degree in adult education.
Master’s programs in adult education provide students with instruction that’s specifically tailored towards working with adults. Though many general education practices and principles still apply, the specialized education provided in adult education programs can be very valuable. Adults learn differently than children do, and teachers need to be able to tailor their curriculum to the audience.
The majority of adult education master’s degrees are general in nature, but some are very specialized. For example, some focus on general education, secondary education, and English as a second language. Though the programs all have similarities, they prepare students to work in varying fields.
Adult literacy teachers who work for the government normally need to have a teaching certificate. Some states require teachers to have a certification in secondary education or elementary education. The licensing requirements are normally met by earning a bachelor’s degree and passing a teacher training program. However, the exact requirements vary from state to state.
There are currently 86,900 adult literacy teachers in the United States, with 2,600 new adult literacy teacher job openings created each year.
Adult Literacy Teacher jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Adult Literacy Teacher Salaries
Adult Literacy Teacher salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most adult literacy teachers make between $36,200 – $64,400 per year, or $17.42 – $30.94 per hour.