I taught web design and 3D animation at Southwest Florida College for six years, sometimes part-time then full-time. With a decade of television, video and ad agency experience, I joined their marketing department and became their media strategist/media buyer but still had the opportunity to teach classes. It was an amazing experience. Often, the students challenged me and tested my knowledge. That was great because it puts pressure on the teacher to strive to know a lot more than the students. Having used most Adobe and Apple creative and production products on a professional level since 1995, there was almost nothing I hadn’t seen before. I was the go-to troubleshooting teacher who could help hundreds of students, many not even in my class, to find solutions to their unique challenges and problems. To make the job even more interesting, the student body at this career-oriented college was highly diversified in age, race, and income. The students taught me a lot, I was amazed at the creativity that surfaced and was proud I was part of inspiring them to express themselves often on a level that would help them get a job on a professional level.
Though I was probably just an average college instructor, I gained a lot of insight and learned so much about myself because of the diverse students and personalities I had to teach and mentor. They made me a better teacher, production artist, web professional, 3D animator, and a more patient person. It was a very satisfying job, you’re helping people who want to learn — they actually want to be there! Unlike high school where many teachers have to deal with the fact attendance in their class is often compulsory and there’s nothing worse than dealing with a teenager who didn’t like to be told to do anything, much less attend your course!
There is likely a school like Southwest Florida College in your area. I had students who were on their second or third careers. Often, you could sense the excitement that they were finally embarking on the a learning journey and career path that really aligned with their passions. If you are looking at changing your career, these kind of schools could be a great fit. Keep in mind that they have every incentive to make sure you are successful — that usually means that students who graduate get as much support, advice and assistance to get a job in the field they committed so much of their time and energy studying in.
If you are in the Greater Fort Myers area, I highly recommend looking into Southwest Florida College. Their website is at www.swfc.edu.