Erica and I often hear people say how much they would love to do our job and be a qualified WSET wine educator. I must be honest, we both love what we do, and we have had some of the most amazing experiences throughout our WSET careers.
So, what is it really like?
I could mention the stress of making sure that we meet the WSET deadlines for ordering exams or I could dwell on the fact that we must get up extremely early to be at a venue on time. I could even say that at times we resemble a graceful swan gliding through the day when underneath we are paddling like crazy. I could mention these things, but they are such a small part of what we do that it would be an unfair representation of how our days go.
Teaching WSET Level 1 courses
As you may already know, I teach the WSET Level 1 courses and have done for quite a few years now. This is by far my most favourite course for me as an educator, but why? The honest answer is that it takes me back to my early years of wine education. I walked into my level 1 course and at that point I knew nothing. I did not know if Merlot made a white or red wine, I did not know that wines could be named by region as well as grape variety and I certainly had no clue as to what food and wine pairing was. By the end of the day this was completely different, I had gained knowledge, but more importantly, I had the belief and the confidence to go onto to do my Level 2. My story is not unusual, most students who attend a WSET Level 1 course feel exactly like I did. My mission is to try and make sure I do everything possible to ensure they leave the day feeling full of confidence, passion and knowledge. In my opinion, this is what a being a WSET educator really is no matter which level of WSET course you are delivering.
Naturally there is a certain amount of administration and logistical tasks that need to be completed to run a WSET wine course from booking venues to ordering exams and more. On the day of the course we will arrive at the venue early to get the room set up, the students then arrive, and the course begins.
Inside the classroom
A WSET educator will hold both WSET qualifications and teaching skills, our knowledge and skills allow us to deliver the course materials in a way that is accessible to everyone considering the variety of different learning styles. We make sure that each student feels relaxed and comfortable by creating an environment that allows them to ask questions. We constantly ask questions to check their learning and we will make time to recap any areas that are unclear. We make sure that we stick to the timetable and that our sessions don’t over run. For the session to run smoothly it requires hours and hours of preparation prior to delivery. For every hour we teach we spend at least double, if not triple that time in the preparation. Following the session, we will then evaluate how it went and review the students feedback forms , if need be we will then introduce some changes to improve the delivery of the next session.
To summarise, behind the scenes of a WSET educator is organisation, hard work and most of all passion. Passion for wine, passion for learning and most of all a passion for each student to have the best possible experience of WSET wine training. My career as a WSET educator began with a WSET level 1 course delivered by Erica where I knew nothing about wine, now eight years later I am delivering the same course that started my journey.
by Helen Evans EDW Educator – 31 May 2018
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