Alumna uses skills, knowledge acquired in Tech Ed program to mentor nurse colleagues
By Fred Michah Rynor
Most people don't usually look at school as fun but having a wonderful time while hitting the books is a recurring theme for recent grad Nina Henley.
And Henley's reason for returning to school isn't the usual career path either as she is a part-time emergency room nurse with the Trillium Health Centre in Mississauga as well as a health sciences teacher at Loyola Catholic Secondary School. Add to the mix the fact that she was a mature student with two young daughters and you've got one very busy and non-traditional OISE student.
Henley realized that, since she spends so much time teaching fellow nurses – especially new hires – as well as advising patients on healthcare issues, it would help her to take a professional teaching course in order to reach her colleagues more effectively. She also knew that upgrading at OISE would have real benefits for her high school students.
"I’m often paired with student nurses and I needed an educational re-boot to make my mentoring more effective," she says. "What especially intrigued me is how we learned to reach students by applying individual personality 'colours'' which helps teachers decide how each person might respond to a particular method of teaching. OISE's approach underlined the fact that not everyone should be taught the same way."
What also impressed Henley is just how much she enjoyed returning to the classroom. "Being a full-time professional as well as a student meant that it was really helpful to cover so much material in a relatively short time."
"I absolutely had a great time," she recalls, "Our combined group of students and instructors included hanging out after class and I was really fond of Michael Tudor who taught the teacher education seminars. He basically made every day enjoyable and he deconstructed the lessons which made it all so much more accessible."
Asked how she would describe her education she responds with an enthusiastic "Top notch!" but while Henley speaks glowingly of her days at OISE, as a mature student it wasn't always easy going.
"We were lucky to have a close knit class of 25 and I still keep in touch with them but I'm not going to sugar coat the experience because it wasn't all breezy good times. It's a really challenging course."
On hand to congratulate Henley at her November 12th convocation was Bernie Burns, Instructor-Coordinator in the Technological Education Apprenticeship Program (TEAP). He echoes Henley's sentiments regarding the level of dedication students must have to succeed.
"Our grads embrace a philosophy that they must be engaged in the fast and ever-changing environment that affects their chosen teaching areas," he states. "They deliver a curriculum that is designed to prepare students of today to successfully meet the challenges of the ever-changing global economy."