As teachers we sometimes get so bound up in what’s going on in the classroom that it is easy to lose sight of the end goal. In particular, we can be so focussed meeting the letter of the law with regard to collecting evidence of a student’s competency that we forget that the purpose of the course we are presenting is to prepare that student for success in the work place.

I am a classroom teacher who delivers the formal software-training component for VET students who are undertaking Certificate 3 in Business Administration by way of our Simulated Business. Students who enrol in our course are almost all adults, and many come from non-English speaking backgrounds. So in the forefront of my mind is the need to prepare my students for the real employment world. To illustrate what I am teaching can only be done with real-world examples. Where do I get these? From the REAL WORLD! Focus area – InDesign.

I had been to a presentation that Tracy had given specifically to Business Ed teachers quite some time ago, so how delighted was I when Tracy agreed to let me into the publishing world for a few days to see how it all works! The fact that one of TMP’s current projects is the Work Ready Program was an absolute bonus.

Thanks, in the first instance, to Mandy for the great overview of the business, your role as Editor, researcher, writer and co-ordinator, not to mention your very warm welcome. I had the opportunity to browse at leisure through the Work Ready website – loved it! And picked up just the odd tip or two, all presented in a really logical sequence and format, appealing and stimulating for people ready to enter the workplace.

I established that the person I really needed to spend time with was Amber, the Graphic Designer. So it was that Amber arrived back from leave to be landed with me in her space, in her face, over her shoulder, watching every keystroke and mouse click. Thank you for your patience, Amber, and for your on-the-run explanations as you worked through the demo on a current task. It was a great chance to ask technical questions as they arose, and to throw in a few of my own.

I discovered how Tracy identified a gap in the market and established a niche product, Mandy researched extensively and wrote the materials, Amber applied layout, design and graphics skills to create the final product, and ‘the IT man’ put it all up on the web. I really enjoyed seeing the back end of the website where TMP can make their own changes on the run.

What will I take back to the classroom? Examples to illustrate teaching points, refreshed and more balanced attitude about page design, confidence in my own technical abilities. Students demonstrate their skills as we work through the various tasks, and we address areas of difficulty as they arise. I need to keep in mind that the assessment tasks are simply confirmation that students can put into practice what they have learned, not a ‘test’ that they can do everything.

Thanks Tracy, Mandy and Amber for the wealth of knowledge you so willingly shared with me.