I didn’t always realize it but throughout my life over many different careers, I have sought to share knowledge and teach others what I know.
As a teenager, I led youth groups and summer camps. In my career as a pipe-organ builder, I was involved in training apprentices and leading teams. When I studied to become a Master of my trade, I added a formal training examination to my portfolio.
As a relocation professional, I used my experience in immigrating to a new country and my bilingualism to help families manage relocations to Germany and all over the world.
In my time selling English language testing tools, I taught language teachers how to use our tools.
Today, I am one of the instructors in the Women In Trades program at Okanagan College. I am thrilled to share a lifetime of experience in the trades with women that want to decide on which trade they want to learn.
I know there is the theory that as instructors in adult education we are only to focus on teaching our content and technical skills. I don’t think this is realistic because in my experience working in a college setting for five years it is clear that many students still need to learn life skills to succeed and thrive in a work environment. I find it important to teach students about punctuality, responsibility and how to treat others.
My goal is to give my students the skills and mindset to be the best they can be in their life. I also want them to feel like they are safe with me. Safe to develop, to make mistakes and to learn. I want to encourage healthy self-esteem that is based on a realistic assessment of the work my students do.
I want my students to strive for excellence and be leaders and team players at the same time. I want folx to enjoy what they do and carry their satisfaction into their lives.
A large part of trade education is knowledge transfer. I want my lectures to be as engaging as possible. I want to find ways to teach the necessary material in a way that my students don’t just pass the exams because they studied the night before but because they understood the material.
Fortunately, we can offer hands-on learning opportunities in the trades and create practical assessments of learning. Self-discovery and experimentation are areas where my students can develop their own style as well as learn to appreciate the value of high-quality work.
While our students have to pass provincial exams as summative assessments, I believe that frequent formative assessments in a fun and playful way can help guide my teaching. The feedback to the students and me will be timely or immediate.
A substantial part of study time outside of the formal classroom and shop times is focused on assignments that require students to discover facts and research on their own. Even in the trades, finding the right information and evaluating sources of information is increasingly important. I believe that we need to help our students to develop these skills as well.
The most important goal for any of our students is to pass the Red Seal Certification in their field. At the same time, our students also need to learn how to work with others and develop skills like reasoning, communication, collaboration and creativity.
Like everyone else, my students will have to learn where to find reliable information and how to develop new skills for the rest of their lives. I want to be the guide that puts them on the path to mastering this.
Trades environments have a major problem with racism, sexism and gender-based violence. We need to educate our students on how to stand up to these threats and how to stand by the victims. We need to change the workplace culture in the trades so it doesn’t require people to be brave to go to work.
I am part of the Be More Than a Bystander program, organized by The BC Centre for Women in Trades and the Ending Violence Association of BC. We deliver seminars to tradespeople in an effort to change these workplace cultures.