You can take a class at MiraCosta College, but, maybe you'd be happier teaching one.
The college, with campuses in Cardiff and Oceanside, offers non-credit courses through its community services department that are taught by individuals with special knowledge, but not necessarily with any special background in education.
These courses are fee-based and self-supporting. The subjects tend to be off-beat and are typically one- or two-day workshops, running from two to eight hours.
The workshops differ from the free classes sponsored by the community education department. Those classes are state-supported, usually run for six weeks and are taught by certified instructors. Courses range from vocational education to childbirth preparation.
The community services department workshops operate on the free-market system.
If there are people willing to teach a workshop and enough people out there willing to pay to take the class, it will be offered. The college does not receive any tax dollars for support of the workshops.
"We have to be completely self-supporting from the fees generated by the interest in the course," said Rachel Sayre of community services.
"People don't teach these courses for the money," Sayre said. "They do it because they want to contribute something to the community, to increase their clientele, or to meet other people, which is fine with us."
The fees and salaries are set by the school board and are non-negotiable. It's a 50-50 split between the school and the instructor, said Sayre. MiraCosta charges $5 an hour, per student for a workshop, and the instructor gets $2.50 of that. The longer classes are set at a rate of $3 an hour.
Courses begin every fall, spring and summer.
The procedure for submitting a workshop idea is fairly simple. Start by picking up a copy of the current summer schedule. That way, you can see what is being offered.
You can get on MiraCosta's fall mailing list by calling or writing the community services department. A packet of information mailed around the last week in August will contain details on the workshop program, a salary schedule and a form in which you can describe your workshop or class proposal.
Once that is filled out, it should be returned to community services for review. If your idea is accepted, you will be contacted for an interview. If all goes well, you will be on your way to teaching a workshop.
Sayre says that right now they are overwhelmed with courses focusing on personal development. "We have way too many offerings in that area and very low enrollments for them," she said. "Such courses are cyclical and tend not to have as much appeal."
On the other hand, Sayre said the college is trying to increase its recreational classes. "We need a ballroom dance instructor and an archery instructor," she said. "Computers are very hot right now, but we have too many instructors for that area as it is."
The most unconventional course Sayre says she ever approved was The Art of Chinese Face Reading, which ended up being very popular. Among the current course topics: learn to type in a day; how to do business in Japan; stand-up comedy; making quilts and using your camcorder.
Address: One Barnard Drive, Oceanside, CA 92056
Calls: 757-2121, Ext. 485.