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Learning Center Experience
"I come from a long
line of educators,” said Candace Adams, an adjunct professor at Kaplan
University in the School of Education. Professor Adams currently teaches ED 521:
Reading in the Content Area, and has been teaching at Kaplan University for 6 years.
“I didn’t really think
I wanted to be a teacher or a professor. I started my career in
retail, because I love fashion and beautiful things. But I grew tired of
focusing on ‘things’ instead of ideas and people.”
Professor Adams wanted
to do something meaningful with her life, something that would make her proud. Most
of her family is in education and although she didn’t initially envision
herself in the profession, she thought she’d give it a try. She loves reading
and literature and the love of both prompted her to go back to school to earn a
teaching degree. Candace later earned her master’s degree in secondary education,
a Master of Arts in Education, and her doctorate in curriculum instruction.
She became a teacher
for the next 20 years, starting out as an intern at a low-income elementary
school in Mesa, Arizona, and eventually instructing high school English and journalism
for several years.
“I absolutely love
teaching. I think it is such a noble profession, and one that is highly
underrated. The people that I have worked with and instruct have huge hearts
and a real dedication for helping others,” she said.
While she loved
teaching at the K-12 area, she longed to instruct others how to become
passionate, energetic educators who also are leaders and catalysts for
change in the field.
Professor Adams left K-12 education and currently instructs full time in the
online graduate level, which includes her position at Kaplan University.
When asked how
teaching online differs from the traditional classroom, Professor Adams said,
“The most unique experiences are when I have established a relationship with
others and then I have the opportunity to meet them face-to-face. Most people
cannot believe that my two closest friends are women that I work with who do
not live in the same state as me. (One friend is a fellow Kaplan University
instructor.) I find it inspiring that we can make connections in virtual
spaces. I really feel that I get to know my students so well—I forget that
we’ve never met in person!”
When asked what
inspires her to teach, Professor Adams talks about her daughter, Scarlett, who
was adopted from China. Candace and her husband waited for her for 4 years. “My daughter,
husband, and family are so important to me that I work very hard at being a
good parent. It is a labor of love to be Scarlett’s mother. Similarly, I am
inspired by families that work through tough times and see education as a way
to improve their lives. Whenever I feel like I want to give up and forget the
whole education thing, I think of a student who has sacrificed so much to be in
school and one whose life is so much more challenging than my own. Students
with health issues or those affected by natural disasters who still manage to
find a computer and keep up with their studies. These students inspire me to
work harder, to push through, and to keep on with the good fight.”
Does Professor Adams have
any advice for students studying to become teachers? “When you’re entering the field you should
be prepared to make a lot of sacrifices and to invest a great deal of time in
those first 10 years. Teaching is the most important job in the world. We need
to be empowered to be that agent of change and to be positive role models when
it comes to dedication, persistence, and passion for education. I also think
that teachers have a powerful voice and that we need to channel that voice to
help us gain better wages, benefits and working conditions.”
In addition to her
teaching, Professor Adams continues to volunteer each week as an art teacher at
a local elementary school.
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