Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Big Bold Goal really is Big and Bold!

Two weeks into my blogging career, I am very much aware how big and bold my goal of writing every day to 90 days is! I was in Williams Lake, BC these last couple of days, teaching a Swiftwater Rescue Course. The nature of these courses is such that the days are long and without any breaks. The alarm goes off somewhere between 5:30 and 6:30 and I don't think I ate dinner before 9 pm any of the nights I was up there. I am not trying to make excuses for not writing the last two nights, I am just realizing that when I set my goal, I did not think about these kinds of days. But I am sticking to it, at the end of my 90 day goal I will have 91 blog entries. So I will have to do some catching up.
The course I taught is called Swift Water Rescue Technician. I have taught a variety of students on such courses. When I work for Thompson Rivers University the students tend to be in their 20's and from all across Canada and the world. Sometimes the students are Firefighters or Search and Rescue volunteers. This particular course had students who, all but one, belonged to a First Nations Band and were working as fisher-men and women.

Of course there are general differences in teaching at the University and teaching outside of an academic institution. In both situations I strive to provide the students with an opportunity to learn to most. In the private sector, however, there is also a strong emphasis on customer service. Don't get me wrong, both student groups fill out course evaluations and I strive toward professionalism at all times. Maybe this example will highlight the difference in teaching styles. When TRU students drag their feet a little and maybe don't clean up after themselves as much as would seem prudent, I yell at them (sort of). Or better yet, I watch my friend and colleague Sharman deliver his legendary "I'm not yo momma' talk. And every course, I learn and I am inspired. Often it happens near the end, when all of a sudden a little magic happens that makes it all worthwhile. I had some challenges on this course, specifically in finding the right places to teach. After finishing the first day of teaching drove 100 km (one way) just to scout the next day's location. But on on the last day there was magic! I had several young guys in my class, guys in their late teens. On the last day I saw them swimming in the river and coming out with smiles on their faces and a certain glint in the eyes that told me that they got it. They got why fell in love with rivers in the first place. There was a spark that I managed to ignite, which I can only hope will grow into a passion for rivers

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