Editorial: Education is Not Free

Sharyn Reeve from Nail Perfect NZ recently wrote an incredible article that sheds light on the perspective of passion-driven Educators throughout the Nail Industry in New Zealand. Check it out here and then check out her website and Facebook page.

After reading yet another online comment slating an educator for lack of ongoing support, I felt like this needed to be said and needed to be said clearly.

I think that Nail Techs definitely need to do their homework before choosing an educator, but please, can you all stop expecting ‘ongoing support’ as a right, for free? I see these comments so often and I really get so confused by them.

Think about this for a minute.

When you attend Polytech or University you pay sometimes tens of thousands of dollars, for 1-3 years training. Once you finish your course, your tutor or lecturer is not going to call you up every 3 months, or 6 months, or even every year to see how you are doing or to see if you need more help.

You paid for a course to be X amount of time, and that’s what you got.

If you build up a great relationship with your tutor they might be happy to remain in contact, and they might be willing to help you out with information occasionally, but really, once you’ve passed the end of your paid time allowance, their job is done. And if you ask any NZQA institution what their course fees cover, they will tell you it is the duration of the course. No more, no less.

So I’m genuinely confused. Why do nail techs expect this? And for free?

I will absolutely help my students out if I can but as a student, you have certain responsibilities, as do I.

My educator responsibilities, are –

  • To ensure that you receive all of the required educational material. And that as far as I am able, you understand said material.
  • I am responsible for providing clear, concise and accurate training.
  • I am responsible for doing my best to make sure that you achieve all goals set for the duration of the course.
  • Also, to ensure that each booked class has a course outline, lesson plan and appropriate handouts and reference material.
  • I am responsible for creating a class schedule, that gives you the hours you have paid for.
  • And, if part of your fees, I am responsible for ensuring I provide you with a kit that contains all you need to learn and pass your class if you apply yourself.
  • Finally, I am responsible for ensuring that before any exam is booked, you are confident, capable and ready for that exam.

Because I love my job and because I don’t teach 300 students per year, I will often build up very good relationships with students, and offer to help them out here and there with questions, but I cannot stay in business if I offer unlimited ongoing training. That is what refresher classes, and one day classes are designed for – and that’s far more than any educational institute will give you.

As a student you too have responsibilities when you sign up for a course.

  • You are an adult student, so much like uni, YOU are responsible for your learning.
  • It is your responsibility to attend all scheduled classes, arrive on time, with the correct equipment and ready to learn.
  • It is your responsibility to invest time in your ‘homework’ and practicing the skills you are learning in classes.
  • It is also your responsibility to maintain your kit and keep it stocked and in clean, sanitary and excellent condition.
  • Is your responsibility to listen to your educator and learn from them.
  • It is your responsibility, that should you need extra help or support, that you ask for this and get this during your course.
  • And it is your responsibility to be clear with your educator, that if you are not ready, or need more education, more support, or more help to be able to sit your exams, that this is what you need.
  • It is your responsibility to pass your exam.

Please also remember, that while we may want to think of each other as friends and cohorts…

Your educator is not your mother or your babysitter.

They are not a mind-reader, nor a psychic.

They are not your new best-friend.

You are paying them to complete a job.

Please help them do this to their best ability by being a great student and by investing in your learning beyond paying the bill.

– Sharyn Reeve, Nail Perfect NZ