Instructor, San Antonio - San PedroChad
“I’m 42 years old, and I’ve been in the healthcare field since I was 19. I never even knew I wanted to be in healthcare until I left home. I saw an advertisement, signed up on Monday and started classes on Wednesday. That was 20-something years ago.
I came from a really small high school, so we had a lot of one-on-one interaction. Later, I moved into more of a college setting where it was 30-to-1 in labs, so it’s a lot to get used to and try to grow into. I believed that helped me on the education side because I was there. I bring that into the classroom, and I tell them all the time, ‘Guys, I’ve been exactly where you are.’ The students respect it and look at it as real-world experience.
It’s nice to get up and come to work but then enjoy your job, too. Coming here every day is my family away from my family. If you have a classroom that gives them that acceptance where they know this is a safe zone, they’re going to come to school. You have to have an inviting atmosphere for them to come to. I’m very strict about certain things, but other things I’m very relaxed on. Time management is a huge deal for me, and I make them very accountable for their time, and they know that. I run my classroom like a job. They have to be accountable for their time. When I set expectations, they try to exceed them.
“I run my classroom like a job. They have to be accountable for their time.”
Our students might have never had a mother figure or a father figure. Maybe they’ve never been taught basic skills, so they rely on me to be that person. Explaining certain things to them like time management, balancing your budget. They are going to be professionals at some point, so you need to teach them how to roll into that professional mode, and give them that extra boost that sets them away from the rut they’ve been in.
It’s hard to see students giving up on themselves. We work really, really hard on retention. Knocking on people’s doors, calling them in the morning to make sure they’re not going to be late to school. We, as instructors, try and build internal relationships with students as far as carpooling, study groups, back-up babysitter plans, things like that, to make sure each one of them becomes successful. And when they give up, we don’t.
“The minute you wake up and you’re content and happy, you’re successful.”
The greatest day of my life is whenever I watch them cross the stage. It’s just neat to see the self-esteems that are built. Some of these students are the first ones who graduated from a secondary education. The first couple of years after I started I thought, ‘This is fun.’ Then it turned into more than fun, it turned into goals. I want to make sure that they all achieve better for themselves. I love helping them and instructing them and bringing my knowledge back into it. We have a great reputation out in the field; we have a lot of providers that will call the externship department. It feels good that we have students out there in the field that are representing our industry.
One of my big sayings is, ‘Never look back on what you left, but only keep walking toward the things you want.’ I tell my students all the time that the minute you start walking forward, you have to keep walking, because when you look back to see what you’re missing out on, you’re going to trip and fall. I don’t care how many people are screaming behind you, they’re screaming because they’re scared because you’re becoming successful. The louder they get, the better you’re going to be in life. Your friends and family who want you to stay where you’re at in life are going to scream the loudest because they’re afraid that you’re going to be successful and leave them. Once you cross that stage, you become a success. And that gate closes, and you have the key. And you can open it and bring your family with you.
The minute you wake up and you’re content and happy, you’re successful. It’s not a car in your garage, it’s not the roof over your head, it’s being able to wake up and be happy with what you are and who you are and what you’re doing at that time.”