My time is divided between being a therapist and an educator. I have been in education for over 10 years, and have always found that while there were hardships, the role of educator has given me so much joy. I have, many times, been challenged. Challenged to consider what my duties and responsibilities are, and whether or not they are supporting mt profession. Recently I have found myself reflecting on my role as educator and how that influences my profession.
As an educator, I have accepted long nights preparing lesson plans, searching for ways to make sciences interesting and applicable. I have accepted less pay in exchange for doing something that fulfills me in ways beyond dollars and cents. I have accepted that I will not always have all the answers, and that not every one of my students will like me. I have accepted the misplaced anger of a student that is frustrated by the challenge to learn sometimes tough material. I have accepted that I may not be able to teach what I know to be more effective, or valuable because I am limited by an educational institutions curriculum, created to reflect current standards. I accept these things.
As an educator, I do not accept an educational institution that does not set up students to succeed and then blames educators when they fail. I do not accept the notion that "generational" differences require educators to make exceptions to rules which results in decreased accountability for those who may become primary healthcare providers. I do not accept inappropriate conversations about colleagues in their absence, rather than face to face discussions. I do not accept responsibility for a students failure when they cannot take responsibility for themselves. I do not accept that exceptions are made for financial gain while the long term effects of these decisions create lasting damage to the profession I love. I do not accept these things.
I believe that my duty as an educator is to prepare my students for examination and for the life of a successful therapist. I believe that my duty as an educator is to ensure that those entering my profession are people that are respectful, trustworthy and solid in their skill set, regardless of whether or not we hold different approaches to treatment. I do not believe that my way is the only way. I believe that the duty of an educational institution, or regulatory body, is to maintain integrity in a profession by preventing those who do not demonstrate dedication, maturity, skill and ethics from entering.
I have worked as both therapist and educator in many settings. I believe that I have always tried to honor my roles and duties as an educator and therapist. I believe that I have been in situations where the setting I practice in has sometimes made that very difficult. As I look forward, I have made the decision to discontinue being part of those thing that dishonor me as a therapist and my profession as a whole. I am thankful for those who have shaped me, and allowed me the opportunity to see integrity in action.
Shirlee Rankin, who never trades in her ethics and integrity for money. She upholds both the integrity of her school and of the massage profession, even in times where that meant that she had to make personal sacrifices. She unquestioningly stands behind her teachers, and despite our close relationship, not once spoke poorly or gossiped about a fellow staff member.
Adam Martynuik, the most amazing chiropractor I have ever worked with, practices with a confidence and dedication that elevated my own practice. His commitment to his patients often meant that I received late night text messages about differential diagnoses after he had searched through text or did online research. He never did the "snap, crackle, pop" with a single patient. What I did see was a individualized approach using manual manipulation, movement and education. A truly skilled healthcare provider.
Jess Gjertsen, a badass trainer with skills I envied from day one. I believe one of the first things I said to her was "I want to follow you around and learn everything you know." I watched her use FMS and a skilled eye to assess and investigate. I saw her interact with her clients with a tough kindness, helping people move beyond where they believed their limitations existed. I never saw her balancing on a bosu ball while doing a bicep curl and a kettle bell swing (although she probably would have executed that flawlessly lol). No party tricks, just intelligently designed, effective and individualized care.
I have been lucky enough to have been in the presence of some of the most amazing educators and therapists, as both a peer and student. I have been shaped by the good experiences and by the not so good ones. As I come to the end of a tough week, struggling with my role right now, I am thankful for these amazing colleagues, for my partner who sent me a message to remind me of who I am, and for a picture from an 8 year old client that lifted my spirits after a rough day.
Laurie Di Giulio
Aspiring Jedi therapist, lover of the art in human anatomy, reveler in the miraculousness of life.