Change is difficult. It requires us to challenge what we’ve accepted as reality. It requires us to trade in what’s comfortable for what’s not. And even the most optimistic among us, at some point, will have our doubts about whether or not it’s worth it. Most of all, to truly change for the better requires us to accept a difficult notion…that the way we’ve always done things might not be the best way to do them anymore.
Change is also exciting. It allows us to look at things in a new light. It opens us up to the opportunity to improve upon the standard and reach new heights we didn’t know were possible. It creates the opportunity for a new reality. Most of all, change is a necessary component to human advancement. Nothing gets better without change.
As real estate educators, our ability to effectively reach students is predicated on our ability to adapt to the changing needs of our students. If you understand that you need to reexamine the way you’re teaching, but are struggling to know where to start, these strategies will help you shift your mindset and open yourself up to new possibilities.
Recognize Change as an Opportunity Instead of a Threat
Our natural and initial response to change is usually skepticism. We look at change as an affront to the way we’ve always done things and a challenge to the accepted norm. It’s uncomfortable, but valuable, to fight through these innate feelings and see change for what it really is…an opportunity.
All real estate educators have the common goal of effectively passing knowledge and skills to the students in our classroom. With that goal in mind, we need to be open and inviting to any changes we can make that will improve our ability to reach those students. Adaptability will allow you to be on the cutting edge of new teaching styles and technology that can dramatically improve comprehension and retention.
Change also presents an opportunity for you to stake out a competitive advantage. When you look at change as an opportunity, you put yourself in position to improve. This mindset makes you immeasurably faster to adapt to change. The bulk of the educators in your market will remain resistant to change, up to the point where it’s unavoidable. When you don’t waste your time and energy resisting, you are that much farther ahead of the other real estate schools with which you are competing.
Understand the Varying Needs of Your Audience
Now more than ever, with real estate careers attracting a younger demographic, it’s important to realize that a one-size-fits-all approach to education may not be the most effective way to reach our goal of universal understanding of the material.
Not everybody learns the same way. The didactic, lecture-only approach that many of us were raised on works really well with some people, but is considerably less effective with others. The good news for you is that much of this delineation is generational. But adjusting for this can be difficult when you’re leading a prelicensing or CE course with students spanning three or four generations. So it’s important to present material a few different ways, and also identify teaching styles and approaches that work across multiple generations, like games, to help you have a broader impact.
Seek Your Own Opportunities to Learn
Once you’ve opened yourself up to the notion that your teaching style needs to evolve as your student population changes, it’s important to realize that you too may need to become a student. If you currently hold a real estate license, you already complete continuing education on an annual basis to keep your license and stay on top of the latest trends in the real estate business. But what are you doing to stay on top of changes in education?
Education styles and practices are not immune to change. It’s important to keep your skills sharp. Stay on top of the latest developments in how to best reach your students in a way that will most effectively transfer your knowledge to them. The Real Estate Educators Association is a great resource for you as you look for new opportunities to expand your capabilities as an instructor. There are also a myriad of resources available online to help you understand how adult education is evolving, and how you can evolve with it as a real estate educator.
Change is never easy, but nothing worth doing is. Shifting your mindset can help you recognize change as an opportunity. Improve your ability to do what we all want to do…drive more positive student outcomes as an instructor.