Wow. I can’t believe I have just started the final course of my Bachelor of Education – Adult Education! It seems like just yesterday I was getting my acceptance letter from Brock University for a Winter 2012 admission.
As a task for the first week, learners were asked to reflect upon the question: What is Adult Learning?
It seems as though my love for teaching has continued evolved. When I was in Grade 1 I wanted to be a teacher. At that point I had no idea what “being a teacher” meant or entailed, but I am sure it was because I loved my teacher and wanted to be just like her.
The dream stayed with me and when I entered Grade 10 I began teaching a Junior Achievement sponsored business class to Grade 6 students. This fed my passion for teaching. In my OAC year I applied to every Child & Youth / Primary-Junior university program in Ontario. While I knew I wanted to teach, after only 6 weeks in the Brock University Child and Youth Program, I realized that teaching children was not for me. I switched majors into Business & Economics the following year.
University guidance counsellors informed me that “business and economics were difficult teachables” for Junior-Intermediate teaching programs, and that program intakes were rare. At the same time, I became a Teaching Assistant (TA) for the economics department. Each week I would facilitate 3 first-year macroeconomic tutorials. Again, it fed my love for teaching. But this time it had evolved from teaching children to teaching adults at the post-secondary level.
I graduated from Brock University with a BA (Hons) in Business & Economics (2007) without any clear path towards teaching. I didn’t want to teach elementary or high school. I didn’t have the qualification for post-secondary.
I got a job.
But the passion for teaching was still strong.
The job I obtained required me to develop and deliver workshops to individuals who were not in college or university. They were just adults who required skills training.
It was the first time that I realized that education does not halt when we receive our degree/diploma/certificate. Learning doesn’t end because formal education has ended.
Adult learning, I realized, can take on many shapes and forms. Many times adults pursue learning opportunities to maintain skills for their job and other times they pursue training because they have switched jobs into a new industry or have started a new business.
While learning may take many shapes and forms, it is essential for adults to continue their learning journey.
Although I may have known everything when I was 16 years old (right, Mom?) I realize now that as adults we will continue to learn and develop new skills throughout our life for the many jobs and tasks that lay ahead of them.