Become A Leader

Clarification: we use the term ‘course’ but in reality each course can be thought of an activity (the term ‘course’ conjures up a very formal education and training process). The ‘courses’ that U3A run are basically activities – some require some learning but most of the courses have a social component.

Where to start?

If you are attending other courses then ask the course leaders what is involved, their ‘qualifications’ for running the course, additional work running the course.

You might want to contact the Course Development Officer ( and discuss your requirements and the feasibility of the course itself. Some topics work better than others within our community. The Course Development Officer may offer additional information to help you decide whether or not to run a course.

What qualifications do I need?

The only qualification needed is the wish to share your knowledge with other people. The course that you propose need not be about your previous work but a hobby or interest that you may have.

What types of courses?

Currently there are several categories that we use. These categories, as well as the types of courses, can be seen within the Activities section of the web site or in the Course Program.

Do I have to run the course for the full year?

No. You determine when your course is run. If you look at the Course Program you might notice that some courses are run for a single term (Christmas type activities) or 2 terms only. There are also courses that only run for part of the term.

We try to run the course through each school term (an 8 week period) but we do have social activities outside of these times. We have found that the best times are between 9:00 am and 3:00pm as this does not interfere with the ‘grandparenting duties’.

Who has a say in the course content?

As long as the topic doesn’t conflict with our policies (apolitical, non-religious, non profit making) then any topic that your care to deliver. The Course Development Officer can help you to decide what is of most interest to our community.

If offering specialised information courses i.e. legal, medical, financial then you will need to submit your qualifications and course plan to the Management Committee for approval. You maybe called before the committee to ascertain the appropriateness of the subject and given tips on improving the course content i.e. generalised information.

The Course Development Officer reports back to the Management Committee about any new courses. The Management Committee may veto a course that is deemed ‘unsuitable’.

What if I’ve never taught before?

Neither has the majority of our Course Leaders. Depending upon the type of course you may not need teaching experience i.e. our breakfast, coffee and lunch clubs require organisational skills in locating venues, booking etc.

If your topic is about teaching people new skills it might be helpful if you:

  • determine what you want to achieve (outcome) by the end of the term
  • break this down into 8 lessons starting at an introduction and working your way through to achieve the final outcome
  • be prepared to change your plan as things don’t always go according to script

What if there isn’t enough enrolments in the course?

On the Leaders Application Form there is a section where you decide the minimum and maximum number of places for your course. If there is insufficient enrolments then you may decide to cancel the course. But don’t get discouraged, the lack of enrolments maybe due to a conflict in times with a more popular course currently on offer. The Course Development Officer will help you with this information.

Of course the days and times are completely up to you as the Course Development Officer is there to advise on the best possibilities for the success of your course.

Where can I hold the course?

U3A Maitland hires various venues throughout the Maitland area and can find a venue that is suitable to you and delivering your course.

If you have a avenue in mind, or want to run the course from your home, then our Venue Officer must ‘check out’ the venue to see if meets various OH&S guidelines, insurance coverage and accessibility for our members.

I need to charge a fee for my course.

If this fee is to cover expenses that you incur in delivering the course then that is OK. It is advisable to put the information within your course description so that members can decide whether or not to enrol i.e. the Croquet group has a membership fee for use of the clubs grounds.

If you need to photocopy material then you might want to consider other options i.e. email the files to the member (if the files aren’t too large), have the members bring a USB drive to class to copy the material to. This way you might only need to print out a couple of copies of the lessons for people who don’t have an email address.

I can no longer continue the course.

This happens due to family commitments, health issues or just plain burn out.

If you are finding the workload too much then consider having a Course Clerk where they can take some of the workload off you.

Also, try and find a member of your course that is willing to take over from you. It is always useful to have a ‘backup member’ to take over as there maybe times when you can’t run the course.

If above is not an option then you need to:

  • contact each member of the course and let them know that the course is no longer running
  • contact the Course Coordinator and let them know that you are cancelling your course.

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