Our Instructors

At Explore It! we pride ourselves on having an experienced and talented group of instructors. After all – it’s the instructors who make the program and they’re the face (and hands, and spirit) of our company. In recent weeks, we have been trying to put into words what it is about our instructors that we think is so special. While many are studying to be teachers, they are not stand-at-the-front-of-the-room-and-lead ‘teachers’. And while many find their background in summer camps, with Explore It!, they are not hangin’-round-the-camp fire, face-painting ‘camp counselors’. What then, makes an Explore It! Instructor?

 

Why They Aren’t Teachersteachers

Kids see their teachers everyday. Teachers operate within the structure of the school and the demanding curriculum set by the board. Teachers have a heavy schedule that they need to get through, navigating the skills development and emotional growth of their students while balancing the needs of the parents and school. They teach children what they need to know to move on to the next grade, and then the next. Teachers literally prepare students for the working world. (What a job!)

While we are coming from our own structure of learning – and we love to inspire young minds to find their passions – we tend to let loose a little more than teachers; and allow for a little more goofiness within the classroom (don’t we all need a little more goofiness in our lives?). We are here to have fun, after all. We’re a co-curricular programer, and while we’re not quite as wild as recess, we are certainly not ‘school’.

 

Why They Aren’t Camp Counsellorsarticle-0-14A34CBE000005DC-111_634x530

Camps around Ontario have recently taken up the article on how Justin Trudeau’s time as a camp counsellor prepares him to run the country. The camp counsellor job, as the article suggests, is as important as it is challenging. Counsellors are with children –  working almost 24/7. For as anyone who has worked at overnight camps will attest to, being a camp counsellor is somewhere between being an older sibling, a best friend, and a mentor. The job runs on the energy of summer and days are filled with activities, free time, and other wild and silly excursions.

While the camp counsellor fun-loving and free-wheeling mantra is reflected in our own at Explore It!, our Instructors are not camp counsellors. Our ultimate goal is – at the end of the day – still to learn something. We work to build skills and encourage artistic creation and development, in a way that is more structured than camp.

 

Navigating the Middle Ground

In Quebec, there’s a word for those people who run birthday parties. No, not clowns. They’re called animateurs. Originally a French word, the Oxford Dictionary Online describes animateurs as “a person who enlivens or encourages something”. Another site describes an animator as someone who enables others to create. Animation, literally means to breathe life into something.  When trying to define our instructors, we keep returning to this word: we animate a room, bringing fun, colour, and action to our programs. But animating, like any good artwork, functions off a structured foundation of respect and safety. A good example of this would be in one class, where while coming up with our rules and expectations, one child suggested: “no being silly.” Our instructor replied, “well, we can be a little silly.” The class then went on to define the difference between ‘good’ silly and ‘bad’ silly – which we love… we even train on the difference in our New Instructor Days!

Our Instructors operate on ‘good’ sillies: lots of laughter and good old goofy fun in a safe, respectful environment.