"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.