With nine professional designations and a commitment to teaching, it’s safe to say Sandra Workman has a passion for real estate education. Workman is an Illinois REALTORS® continuing education instructor, an MRED MLS instructor, Illinois President at the Residential Real Estate Council, a REALTOR® at Keller Williams Realty in Bourbonnais, and a Director for the Kankakee-Iroquois-Ford Association of REALTORS® and the Illinois Real Estate Educational Foundation (REEF).

Illinois REALTORS® asked Workman some questions about real estate education and why she chooses to be an instructor.

Why is education so important to you?

I think education is one of the most important things you can do in this business. When you stop learning, you stop growing, and you have to continually grow as an agent in order to service your clients. 

The more education you have, the better your skills are at negotiating and knowing your local rules and laws. You’re going to do better in your job and become a valued and trusted source of information because you’re knowledgeable in your field of experience.

On a day when I’m not learning something new it scares me, and I tell brokers they should spend an hour everyday learning something new. I’m also a director of REEF and when I’m in front of one of my classes the first thing I do is hand out information on how they can get scholarships to continue their education. Education helps you grow your business, and nobody can take your knowledge away from you.

Why did you become a real estate instructor?

I became an instructor to help raise the bar for the industry and because the best way to grow is to first educate yourself and then teach others. When someone asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, it gives you an opportunity to find the answer and learn more. 

What courses do you most enjoy teaching?

My favorite subjects to teach are professional standards, code of ethics, and license law, because I really enjoy the challenge of taking the stodginess out of it and putting in a spark that livens up the material. The worst thing you can do is sit in a classroom and listen to a mumbling teacher, bored and falling asleep. I want to make the classes entertaining. If you make it fun, they’re going to learn more and they’re going to remember more. I want to take the legal content and make it relatable and take the rules and make them personal and interesting. I try to bring students into the conversation and get them engaged, talking and comparing experiences. The best classes are ones where the students get to engage, talk, and compare life experiences and things they’ve seen. 

What do you like about being an instructor for Illinois REALTORS®?

Illinois REALTORS® holds its instructors to a high standard. I attend its instructor training every year and I attend its instructor workshops. You can learn so much from other educators and from networking with people in the business. The instructor training I find most valuable is when you get a room full of instructors together bouncing ideas off each other. You hear what they are saying, and you can implement it in your own classrooms.

Illinois REALTORS® staff is also very dependable, and we can reach out to them and get answers. I call on Illinois REALTORS® staff all the time. When the rules change, IDFPR comes out with something new, or Illinois REALTORS® comes out with something new, Carrie Elliott emails us immediately. She is fantastic about giving us up-to-date information and answering our questions. I send students to Carrie all the time for answers to questions about their education. I also reach out to Becky Carraher whenever I have professional standards questions, and it’s easy for me to pop on email and reach out to Betsy Urbance or Anneliese Fierstos about legal questions. They’re a great asset.