On May 2, 2011, I am a humourous motivational speaker for the Ontario Cooperative Education Association.
This conference will draw upwards of 500 cooperative education teachers. The theme of the conference is “CO-OPTIONS FOR SUCCESS • experience • evolve • succeed”
OCEA's mission is “Facilitating and supporting the exchange of ideas among Experiential Learning Professionals”
Cooperative education teachers have very interesting work. They go out into their communities and develop relationships with organizations to find student coop work opportunities. Students have the good fortune of trying different work scenerios and getting high school credit for it. They may chose healthcare, fish and wildlife, plumbing, heavy machinery, mechanic... the possibilites are endless.
It seems like a real win- win situation, for the student who get hands on work experience and the employer who gets enthusiastic young talent, for free.
To prepare to be a motivational speaker for the teachers, i have thoroughly enjoyed interviewing several cooperative education teachers.
I spoke with Pam Morin, a Coop teacher at ESC Trillium in Chapleau, Ontario.
Pam suggests one of the most important parts of the job is to make sure students are safe, they know their rights, and are trained well enough to do their job.
The risk in different work scenerios varies. Some coop placements involve using heavy equipment and students need to be trained properly. Students have a right to participate or refuse work when they do not feel comfortable.
Other student coop placements the biggest risk may be a papercut. Either way the coop teachers role is to be the bridge between the employer and the student. The employers role is to take on the student and train them.
Cooperative education teachers actually go to the work site with the student. Visiting with the employer helps ease a student into their first work experience and make sure expectations are clear.
John Miller serves on the OCEA board he says the work is both fullfilling and stressful.
Of course one of the main stresses is dealing with a younger generation who are nieve and have expectations that are out of touch with the work world. Being their first work role, they often won't understand this is a commitment. Parents also tend to be very involved.
One parent was upset because her son's hands were calloused from the work. What did she expect? he's a plumber. A big part of the role is to be a referee and manage the expectations of parents, students and employers.
The cooperative education teacher has a very important role in our society to help develop our future generation.
From my own experience ( many moons ago) when i switched from university and went to technical school, i excelled.
I look forward to being the humorous motivational speaker for the cooperative education teachers, my message is Say Hello to Humor & Goodbye to Burnout! We will have a fantastic time laughing at our stress and bringing levity to the conference.