Meet VSOHA Faculty Member Nancy Gouge!
When Nancy moved from California to BC for her husband’s work, she was looking for a place where she could share her 16 years of teaching experience in bodywork and massage. “When I found VSOHA, it felt like home right away. I fell in love with the school and the people there. So far, this is my favorite space I’ve worked and the best job I’ve had, I absolutely love it.”
Born to Teach
Nancy wears many hats at the school, including teaching APPK (anatomy, physiology, pathology, kinesiology), ethics and deep tissue in the Bodywork Therapy Program. It’s a job she feels she was born to do. “When I was a child I would come home from school and do my homework by pretending to teach to fake students or my stuffed animals. I think I’ve always been a teacher. It’s what I love to do.”
Prior to joining the VSOHA team, Nancy worked at the National Holistic Institute for 12 years where she was part of the teacher training team. At VSOHA, she also holds the position of Senior Educational Administrator, where she oversees the curriculum of all programs and supports faculty members to meet their teaching goals.
“Helping other teachers fall in love with teaching is really special for me. I’m a believer in AVK (audio-visual-kinesthetic) learning. So I try to incorporate all three of those into teaching a subject.”
Nancy brings her passion for teaching into the classroom where her goal is to make difficult topics accessible for students who might be struggling. “Sometimes students are really afraid of anatomy. So I try to present anatomy in a way that is fun, interactive and applicable to what they are going to use in their bodywork practice. We do a lot of colouring, we palpate, we move – it’s very interactive.”
Learning How to Learn
Nancy’s favourite part about teaching is when she is able to help students reach a ‘lightbulb moment’. “I love helping students that struggle. For me it’s like a puzzle: how can I present the material differently, or how can we study the material so it’s going to make sense and they can learn it and feel successful? That’s the best part of teaching.”
Nancy said it’s important for students to understand how they learn so they can study in a way that helps them be successful. “We learn with all of our senses. Generally when we are receiving new and difficult information, we tend to prefer it coming in auditorily, visually, or we have to touch or do. Many bodywork students like to learn by touching or doing. That’s why they want to do massage! So movement is very important to the learning process.”
Student Clinic Supervisor
Nancy also supervises student clinic for the Bodywork Therapy program, a part of the program where students provide bodywork treatments to members of the public. “I love supervising the clinic. It’s a hands-on, applied part of the curriculum and the students love it.”
After the initial client intake interview, students share their plan with Nancy for the session, including how they are going to address any issues or pathologies. “I get to walk them through the experience of applying the skills they have learned in the real world. Sometimes students have a plan, sometimes we work it out together. I encourage them to make it a platform where they feel comfortable practicing and making mistakes.”
A Delight To Teach
Nancy has taught in four intakes of the Bodywork Therapy program so far and says the students at VSOHA are some of the best students she has taught. “It’s a safe space, the energy is positive and healthy, the students are responsible, engaged and they have a passion for the subject matter. It’s just a delight to teach.”
“I feel so blessed to have found VSOHA. It fits with not only my love of teaching, but the subject matter and the culture fits with who I am and what I believe. This is where I’m supposed to be.”
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