“I love connecting with students. When they have ah-ha moments, it makes my day.”
Sharon Demaine’s route to the College was a unique one. After first studying Education and working in that field for about a decade, she completed a Funeral Service program, becoming a fully licensed funeral director and embalmer. She worked for 10 years in that role as well, before moving to the Kootenays.
Sharon first became familiar with the College’s Office Administration program as one of its students. In 2015, she joined the program’s faculty and currently teaches math and bookkeeping.
“I love the structure and order that math and bookkeeping allow,” she said. “I like how they sort and make sense of the information. You can look at the results and make informed decisions.”
Sharon is buoyed by her students’ excitement when they are engaged and learning but makes sure to also keep in mind the challenges of being an adult learner.
“I know how hard it is to be an adult student trying to balance life and learning,” she said. “I have struggled as a student and I think that helps me to be a compassionate teacher and to find alternative viewpoints when addressing student questions.”
Though she aims to make the learning process easier for her pupils, Sharon finds she receives at least as much back from them.
“My students teach me so much about kindness and perspective,” she said. “We are all in this world together, trying to learn and improve. We have to be kind to ourselves as well as to each other.”
As the Office Administration program has been offered online for many years, finding ways to help keep students engaged is nothing new to Sharon.
“I incorporate a lot of videos for feedback,” she said. “It helps me connect with students to address them by name and to provide verbal feedback instead of only written comments. I also encourage my students to contact me via MS Teams or in our message system with any questions they may have.”
Away from work, Sharon is learning to hunt, fish, and garden. She enjoys camping and almost all outdoor adventures.
“Living rural has opened a new kind of work/fun for me,” she said. “I enjoy going on firewood adventures with my partner and in-laws, as well as biking, hiking, kayaking, and gardening. I’m also just starting to learn how to play the ukulele and sing (eek). I’m grateful to live here and have the ability to work and play outside.”
Her words of wisdom for students?
“I encourage them to be kind to themselves,” she said. “Learning new things as an adult can leave you feeling vulnerable. It’s important to be gentle with yourself through the process. I would also encourage students to reach out to their instructors with any questions or comments. We’re here for them and want to hear from them.”