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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Instructor relishes the transformation of education

January 14, 2014
Julia has never planned to be an instructor before, but after working as a Respiratory Therapist for several years, the pieces just fell into place.

“She (Julia Foss) is truly an amazing instructor who works hard, stays late and

 does whatever she can to help make sure we understand the material.”

                                                             – Desiree Trejo,

RT student

“One of my biggest thrills is knowing that my students are enjoying my class, because it is very important for students to have a positive and fun environment to promote learning,” says Julia Foss, Respiratory Therapy instructor at the Temecula campus. “It’s nice to see they’re happy with what I am doing.”

Mrs. Foss especially appreciates the support SJVC gives teachers.  “Our SLO (Student Learning Outcomes) guidelines help me teach students the course goals, while also giving us teachers some autonomy. That allows me to find creative ways to reach the students.”

But, within the fun parts are a lot of important and difficult professional and life lessons for students to absorb. The curriculum is intense and during externship, when students are in patient care rotation in addition to their course work, their workload doubles. “Watching students transform from not being able to even turn on a mechanical ventilator to being able to run the machine on a human being is an unbelievable transformation,” says Mrs. Foss. When uncertainty overtakes them she says, “Strive to be the best you can be and you’re going to be great.”

Julia Foss did not plan to be a teacher. For several years she worked as a Respiratory Therapist in the home-health industry. She spent lots of time teaching patients and their families how to use their therapeutic equipment at home. Relocation had her looking online for something new. Seeing SJVC’s ad for an RT instructor she thought, “Hmm, that could be me.” Turns out, she was right.

Beyond her teaching talents, Julia feels tremendous compassion for what her students must go through, both professionally and personally, to succeed in this field. Students’ externship in the real world of patient care puts them in the middle of intense life and death situations. “We talk about their clinical experiences every week in class,” says Foss. “They help save lives and they’ve seen people die,” she says. “We’ve cried together.”

What Julia most hopes to give to her students is the drive to always be their best; to take the time to care and make a difference in a patient’s life.


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