There are two reasons Steve Spencer developed a life-long passion for teaching.
One was seeing the passion his father, who worked for St John and rose from a driver to second-in-command of the top of the South Island, had for teaching. The other was the enjoyment he got from training colleagues while working at KFC.
When he decided his future wasn’t in fast food, Steve joined the Police, spending 21 years in the force, including 12 as a Serious Crash Analyst.
Six years ago, he had the opportunity to co-facilitate a course at Police College, which led to him taking over crash training for Canterbury and external presentations to the likes of FENZ, Aged Concern, and high schools.
“My philosophy is that someone took the time to teach me, at some stage it’s my turn to pass that on. Teaching someone new is difficult but I get a lot of pleasure out of seeing them develop and know that I had a hand in that.”
In 2019 he needed a change and was appointed the national trainer for the Serious Crash Unit.
Undertaking a 'train the trainer’ course at college opened his eyes to adult learning. “The more I implemented from my learnings to how I taught, the more benefits I saw from the students.”
The 49-year-old completed one qualification and then started looking to see what else he could learn so he could be even better.
"I asked my colleagues and they all said I needed to study at SIT2LRN because it was the best and the facilitators were excellent.”
He’s now completed the New Zealand Diploma in Adult Tertiary Teaching (Level 6), which had content he was implementing straight into his job almost immediately.
"What reinforced to me was how the material worked, how much easier it was to facilitate and how much more my students learnt from these methods,” he said.
He had some skepticism from colleagues initially but when the benefits became apparent, they became advocates as well.
“I’ve now arranged for co-facilitators to do the Level 4 certificate as well and I seem to have a group who now practice better methods for the benefit of all our students.”
He's full of praise for SIT2LRN, not just from a content aspect but also in the way the facilitators supported his learning.
“Part way through the middle of the course my daughter got sepsis and almost died. She was in the UK and my wife and I went over for five weeks.
"When I asked for an extension for an assignment the facilitator went out of her way to help. I got an extension and she checked on how both myself and my daughter were.”
Steve has now been approved as a consultant for the Global Road Safety Programme, run by the Red Cross/Crescent worldwide. The programme works with developing nations to teach skills and knowledge to reduce road trauma in those countries.
“I believe my qualification from SIT2LRN assisted me in getting this role. I’m looking forward to using the proven theories I’ve learnt to help save lives in other countries as well.”