Many teachers enjoy working with adult learners even though they didn’t initially set out to teach this population. Some of these teachers bring previous teaching experience to the task while others transition to adult education from non-teaching fields. The CDE/AEFL Professional Development Advisory Group (PDAG) has designed a document that lays out an initial course of professional development for new teachers: New Teacher Profiles A, B, and C.
The outcome for new teachers of ABE, ASE and adult ESL is a basic foundation of knowledge about adult learning and best practices for instruction. No two teachers are “new” in the same way. The New Teacher Profiles document assumes, however, that most new teachers fall into one of these three profiles:
- Profile A: a teacher who is newly hired by a particular Colorado adult education program funded by the state Adult Education and Family Literacy (AEFL) office and who has previous teaching experience at a similarly-funded program elsewhere in Colorado.
- Profile B: a teacher who has taught adults – possibly as a volunteer literacy tutor at a public library, or as a community college instructor – but who has not taught Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language learners for a program funded by the CDE/AEFL office.
- Profile C (ESL or ABE/ASE): a teacher who has never taught adults, although perhaps she/he has taught in the K-12 system.
The document sets out the minimum expected professional development and recommended additional professional development for teachers in each of the three profiles. It is up to the local program director to decide which of the profiles applies best to each “new” teacher coming into the adult education program.
The program director and the new teacher should work together to craft an individualized New Teacher Orientation (NTO) from the variety of expected and recommended training options presented in the New Teacher Profiles document. It may take some new teachers just a few weeks to complete an appropriate NTO of expected and recommended training options. It may take other new teachers a full year or more to complete her/his individualized NTO.
The goal is to help new adult education teachers feel confident, knowledgeable and skillful when entering their adult education classrooms.