Alright so I’m doing this a bit out of order… started this post and shelved it. But in case you’re wondering why the sudden flurry of activity, it’s because I’m taking the PIDP 3260 course, officially and perhaps somewhat ominously entitled “Professional Practice”. Several years ago now, I returned to Canada after 3 years of postdoctoral research in Europe with no job lined up, and after several months and dozens of applications to research positions with no takers I (admittedly in some desperation) started applying to strictly-teaching jobs.
And realized I had no idea what I was doing.
At least, that’s what it felt like! As I rearranged my extensive research CV to highlight my teaching experience, I suddenly felt woefully inadequate. I was new to the “real job” market, hadn’t taught in a classroom in several years, and had no documented teaching credentials to speak of. From my own prior experience as a student I can attest to the fact that “merely” having a degree does not a great teacher make! All I knew of teaching was the bits and pieces I had picked up from observation of my own instructors, some experience teaching laboratory sessions in a sort of mentoring/team environment with other grad students but minimal direct supervision, and some private tutoring I’d been picking up as piecemeal work. Hardly what I considered an extensive resume… so I decided if I was to go this teaching route that I would likely need some credentials to back up my bold claim that I was capable of teaching a classroom of adults! I discovered the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program at VCC, and a student was reborn.
Thankfully, at the beginning of my PIDP journey a local college decided that I seemed a likely candidate for a bit of contract work, which turned into several solid years of work and now a full-time position. I can’t be doing things too badly! Nevertheless I’ve been continuing my way through the PIDP as I’ve continued to develop my teaching in practice. So far I’ve found the resources and information and vocabulary introduced by the PIDP courses to be invaluable in developing my teaching skills, and the new challenges faced with each of my own classes help to root the PIDP course information in reality. It’s challenging to try to do everything at once, but so far has been well worth it. I’m hopeful that this latest addition will prove just as valuable!