Sunday, 5 June 2016

Skills Canada Nationals

I've never been on a provincial team before, it's quite the experience. In addition to the unnatural process of leaving school, getting on an aeroplane and flying away from the classroom in early June, it also puts you together with all the other gold medalists, some of whom you lost against in other categories, except now you're team mates.  

There are a lot of different students on Team Ontario, from the quietest introverts to the loudest extroverts you can imagine, yet they have all demonstrated advanced skills in their particular field of study and are proven craftspeople.  They range from cocky and arrogant to nervous and uncertain; there is no typical Skills Ontario gold medalist.  

There are a lot of different ways to coach a Skills competitor as well and the teachers here reflect that, but the one thing they all have in common is engagement - I've yet to see a shrug of indifference from anyone.  I've been accused of not always playing well with others, but when the others are this capable and willing, it's hard not to get caught up in it all.

We did a solid day of sight seeing yesterday (photos below) and today we've had the day off before the opening ceremonies in a couple of hours.  I'm studiously taking notes so I can understand this new part of the process we haven't done before.

I've brought the most experienced IT/Networking student I've had to date.  It occurred to me the other night that IT, like many other stochastic technology skills, depends largely on experience driven intuition to overcome unclear problems in complex systems.  A student who was willing to try and fail many times ended up developing into my best candidate because of that resiliency.  I've brought students more skilled in academics to Skills Ontario, but never seen them break through because everything had to be just so.  You can't clarify a problem let alone solve it if you aren't willing to flounder around in the dark trying things first.  If you read any modern text on how to teach, floundering around isn't favourable to a transparent, linear process of problem resolution.  If everyone else keeps doing that, we've got an edge.

If you're involved in Ontario education at all, the hashtags to follow on twitter are #teamON and #teamOntario, and the National Skill Competition hashtag #SCNC2016.  Re-tweets of Team Ontario are appreciated (there is a team spirit award based on social media participation).

Later today and tomorrow we'll be knee deep in the competition, and then I'll be able to assess how well we prepared for this unknown.  Until then, isn't New Brunswick beautiful?

Team Ontario at Hopewell Rocks in The Bay of Fundy

Dinner at Catch 22 in Moncton

9lb lobster is watching you - 9lb lobster is unimpressed