At the Centre is an ongoing blog series that features Centre faculty and staff.
Pat Kelly is a faculty member at the Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement. He has been an ELL instructor at the CEIIA for seven years, primarily teaching learners with interrupted formal education.
What do you like most about your job?
What I like most about my job is learning from all of the people here. The learners teach me how people think and learn, and I also learn about their home countries. From my colleagues I learn about new ideas, and I get great advice. Bow Valley College also offers a lot of great professional development opportunities.
What is one thing you’ve learned since working here?
I have learned not to assume how others learn. I had believed that if my understanding of a concept was deep enough, I could explain it to anyone. Now I know that it is not about my understanding. More important is how the learners can understand it.
What do you value most about your colleagues?
Because the instructors I work the most closely with have desk time at the same time, we can communicate every day. Every one shares, helps, and does their best.
Who is an educator that has impacted your life?
In university, I had a professor that I really liked. His classes were interesting and I learned a lot. However, eventually I realized that I was pigeon holed as a “B” student. No matter how hard I worked in his classes, I received the same mark. I learned to take care of myself, and I felt that I had to stop taking his classes. I was sad at that time, but realize now that these are important lessons to learn too.
What are three traits that are important in your role?
- Listening and understanding the learners’ needs
What is your favourite go-to resource?
My favourite go-to resources are my colleagues, the internet, and a textbook. I feel the learners need a text book to help show the organization of the class to them. Also, it is something they can take home for help.
Can you describe an aha moment you have experienced in your role?
In a higher level class I was asked what chemistry is as a learner had a child studying chemistry in high school. I said, “You know, H2O.” Of course, they didn’t know. I thought every question needs an answer, so for 45 minutes I described chemistry. That day I learned two important things: never assume what others know or how they think and that the 45 minutes could have been used much better. I really learned a lot about literacy students that day.
What do you want to learn this year?
This year I want to learn better organization and maybe learn another language for myself.
What is your favourite book?
My favourite book is A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. It is a great story, and I remember exactly where I was when I finished it.
Name one thing about yourself that most people don’t know.
I once travelled six months independently through Asia. I have studied three other languages but can hardly mumble any of them.