What Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers Do
Adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers need to use different teaching strategies to meet their students’ needs.
Adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers instruct adults in basic skills, such as reading, writing, and speaking English. They also help students earn their high school equivalent diploma.
Adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers typically do the following:
- Plan and teach lessons to help students gain the knowledge and skills needed to meet their goals, such as learning English or earning their high school equivalent diploma
- Adapt teaching methods based on students’ strengths and weaknesses
- Emphasize skills that will help students find jobs, such as learning English words and common phrases used in the workplace
- Assess students for possible learning disabilities
- Monitor students’ progress
- Help students develop study skills
- Connect students to other resources in their community, such as mental health services or job placement services
Before students enter these education programs, their educational level and skills are assessed. These assessments are typically performed by another staff member; however, in some programs the teacher may conduct the assessments. Based on the results of the assessment and student’s goals, teachers develop an individualized education program.
Teachers must formally evaluate their students periodically to determine their progress and potential to go on to the next level of classes. However, they may informally evaluate their students’ progress continually.
Adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers often have students of various education levels in their classes. As a result, teachers need to use different teaching strategies and methods that meet all of their students’ needs. They may work with students in classes or tutor them one-on-one.
Teachers prepare students for further education and help them to develop skills that they will need in the workplace. For example, they may teach students how to read a contract or how to estimate the cost of materials needed to remodel a kitchen.
There are three basic types of education that adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers provide:
Adult basic education classes teach students the basics of reading, writing, and math. Students who enter these classes usually do not have a high school diploma. They generally are 16 years or older and need to gain proficiency in these skills to improve their job situation.
High school equivalency and adult secondary education classes prepare students to take the test to earn a high school equivalent diploma. Some programs are combined with career preparation programs so that students can earn a high school equivalent diploma and a career-related credential at the same time.
The high school equivalency exam is composed of four subjects: language arts, math, science, and social studies. In addition to teaching these subjects, teachers also help their students improve their skills in communicating, critical thinking, and problem solving—skills they will need to prepare for further education and successful careers.
English as a Second Language (ESL), also called English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), classes teach students to read, write, and speak English. Students in these classes are immigrants to the United States or those whose native language is not English.
ESL teachers often focus on helping their students with practical vocabulary for jobs and daily living. They also may focus on preparing their students to take the citizenship exam.
ESL teachers may have students from many different countries and cultures in their classroom. Because the ESL teacher and the students may not share a common native language, ESL teachers must be creative in fostering communication in the classroom to achieve their education goals.