Working at Melbourne Polytechnic has been a great change for me, however, it has been for the better.
I started my apprenticeship in 1988 and worked in the industry for 25 years. Working as an electrical contractor, having my own business, employing apprentices, meant I was working 7 days a week. Most days we were on our own all day.
Very rarely would I have to talk in front of a group of 20. Once I started teaching I found I had a skill I didn’t know I had. The ability to be approachable and talk clearly became an asset. I had to adjust to the fact that information has to be explained, in detail, so all that I know, or is required to be learnt by the student can be understood by everyone.
I enjoy being a mentor to students. A good example of how a mature electrician should be. I emphasize the importance of doing work competently and safe. That’s how you last in this industry. When a student walks out of the room having learnt new knowledge or if they come back the following week and say that they used that new knowledge or skill at work and it impressed the boss etc. that I really enjoy.
The work I do gives students a foundation to build on. The students are always welcome to contribute their own experiences. I often use the expertise of students, who may be quite knowledgeable in a particular area/subject. I don’t like seeing students fall behind that are struggling and provided they are willing to put in the effort I will always make time for them.
I’ve been teaching now for 3 years and I’m always learning. I try and instil in students the idea that learning is not all bad. That it must continue throughout their careers for them to reap all the rewards that are possible in the industry.