Being an instructor at Glendale Community College in 2001
After five years teaching at a private college, I started teaching over at my local community college, Glendale Community College. Back in the late '90s and early 2000s, there was a huge demand to learn software like Photoshop, etc., so I had decided to go into business for myself, doing personal training, corporate training, and also teaching at the local community college, here in Glendale, Arizona.
Although I had a teaching certificate, and wrote "teacher" on my income tax forms, I never was comfortable with calling myself that. To me, I was a trainer, nothing more. I considered real teachers to be working at High Schools and Elementary Schools, or even to be teaching more difficult subjects in college, like geography. I was just showing people how to use software, and how to do Graphic Design. It was a pleasure for me because I genuinely love doing those things.
As far as the corporate and personal training was concerned, it was very much like the private college, where I had been before. At a community college, things are different, and I'll try to explain it here.
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As far as the classes were concerned, and the software, and the design, it was all the same. But the way that a community college is run takes some getting used to if you've only worked in the private sector. And really, a lot of it is exactly what you've heard, and I tried to take it with a sense of humor.
The first thing that you have to know is that I was an adjunct faculty. Adjunct means "part time", and I guess the original idea of hiring adjunct faculty for them to be, like the term implied, "adjunct", which means "in addition to" the main staff. But I was surprised to find that over eighty percent of the teachers in the Maricopa County Community College District were adjunct. The full-time faculty people had offices, the adjuncts didn't. That didn't bother me, I wasn't interested in being a full-timer at GCC, I was just working there in addition to the other places I worked. And in fact (here's I'm trying to be funny) I would often see full-time faculty that had been there for years looking as if cobwebs should be on them, with a glazed look in their eyes, looking forward to retirement. I was horrified by that, and I swore that would never be me.
So, far from being "in addition to", the adjunct faculty was the college, and it still is. And make no mistake, it's a good gig, and although there are no benefits, and no job security, the pay (which was per class, by contract) wasn't bad. Since I taught classes like web design, it didn't matter that I didn't have an office - I had email, and I could send students to my web site, where I posted the classes and weekly syllabus. I've had my website BradHallArt.com since 1999.
Overall, I'd say my experience doing teaching and training is that it's all the same wherever people get it. Going to a community college is an excellent value, unless of course you're a student who doesn't pay attention, doesn't do the assignments, etc. A piece of paper saying that you passed a class in Photoshop won't get you work, being able to use Photoshop will. Or Illustrator, or Dreamweaver, or InDesign. And especially the ability to do Graphic Design.
I like GCC, and I highly recommend it for your first two years of college, and then to ASU! Go Gauchos! Go Devils!
Posted by Brad Hall