Published: April 23, 2024
Behind the Scenes: A Day in the Life of OSTTC Instructor, Devon

The amazing people behind OSTTC are what truly make the Ogwehoweh Skills and Trades Training Centre an amazing place to learn, grow, and succeed. We want to invite you to get to know one of our dedicated instructors, Devon Acker, to glimpse what we get to see day in and day out – his commitment to his students. We asked Devon some questions about his role at OSTTC. Here’s what he had to share:

 

Can you walk us through a typical day as an instructor at OSTTC?

Devon: One of the great things about working at OSTTC is that no two days are the same! Classes generally begin at 9:00 am with an hour-long lunch around noon. Throughout the term, OSTTC hosts special catered lunches for the students. The day ends at about 3:00 pm, so students can make it home in time to pick up their kids from the school bus.

 

What inspired you to become an educator?

Devon: I have always enjoyed helping others, and I started tutoring my classmates in mathematics when I was in high school. After graduating from university, and working in a laboratory for some time, I decided that I wanted to work with people again while sharing my love of science. Teaching seemed like a natural fit!

 

How do you approach designing a new course like the business fundamentals class? What factors do you consider in its development?

Devon: Backwards design involves determining what you want the students to be able to demonstrate at the end of the course and then building the course with those ends in mind. When we were tasked with building the Business Fundamentals program, our first consideration involved the skills and knowledge that we wanted our students to be able to communicate and demonstrate at the completion of the program. We also had to consider the evaluations and/or culminating activities that would allow us to best assess our students’ learning.

 

Could you share some memorable moments or success stories from your time teaching with OSTTC?

Devon: Some of the most memorable moments for me have been students’ firsts. The first time a student successfully performs a wet exit from a kayak, the first time a student helps to clean a moose hide, and the relief you see the first time a student completes a mock panel interview are all standout moments for me. A recent success story involves a student who completed our Employment Readiness program followed by her successful work placement with an electrician in the Niagara area. This semester she is taking our Residential Construction program and is setting herself up nicely for future employment in the trades.

 

What strategies do you employ to keep your students engaged and motivated throughout the learning process?

Devon: We work to keep our students engaged through relevant and meaningful content, real-life applications, relationship-building, and social learning.

 

In your opinion, what are some of the biggest challenges students face when preparing for the GED, or in any class, and how do you help them overcome these challenges?

Devon: One of the biggest challenges that our adult students face is that they have real and sometimes complicated lives outside of this school. We do our best to eliminate barriers to their success by providing a schedule that takes into account that many of our learners have school-age children. Having an active and engaged student services team, offering after-hours tutoring sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and providing students with snacks, meals, and training supplements are all ways that we support our students.

 

How do you foster a positive and inclusive learning environment for your students?

Devon: The majority of our courses at OSTTC contain a cultural component, thanks to our wonderful Cultural Coordinator, Andrew. We work hard to create a classroom environment where students feel comfortable taking risks and making mistakes. I do my best to lead by example and share my experiences gained through living and working with a diverse community outside of the territory.

 

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in education or instructional design?

Devon: Be yourself, follow your interests, surround yourself with a diverse group of people, and learn as much as you can from others about how they learn and what makes them tick.

 

How do you stay updated on the latest trends and developments in education and the job market, and how do you incorporate this knowledge into your teaching?

Devon: I am lucky to be a member of a professional college, which helps keep me up to date on developments in education. I also work closely with the wonderful staff at Six Nations Grand River Employment and Training who are a great source of information about the local job market. Each new offering of a program that I instruct goes through a revision process in order to improve the offering and keep it relevant.

 

Looking ahead, what are your goals and aspirations as an instructor at OSTTC, and how do you hope to continue making an impact in the lives of your students?

Devon: I look forward to attaining more certifications in outdoor education-related activities, including kayaking, canoeing, camping, and wilderness first aid, and I am considering completing an additional qualification in physics at a later date in order to offer more high school upgrading courses here at OSTTC.

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On behalf of all of us at OSTTC, staff and students, we would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Devon Acker for his tireless dedication and commitment to helping to shape the education and careers of so many. We appreciate all that you do!

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