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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

An unexpected career as an SJVC instructor ignites passion in shy guy

December 23, 2014
Medical Assistant instructor Josh Farquharson
Josh Farquharson gives students important life lessons that strengthen their career ambitions.

Joshua Farquharson never aspired to be a teacher. Even though his mother, Usha, and his father, Manley, are retired educators, Josh never seriously considered going into the ‘family business.’

“I was very timid, as a kid,” says Josh. “I never thought I’d become a teacher; it didn’t match my character.”

Instead, Josh was drawn toward a medical career, and by 1998 was gainfully employed as a Medical Assistant. After four years in the field, he was a little surprised to find himself front-and-center as an instructor for a college’s Medical Assisting program; then lead instructor, and ultimately, Program Director. Maybe he had a knack for this teacher thing, after all.

“I stepped out of my comfort zone, and found my life purpose in teaching,” says Josh. “I realized that it was deeper than a transfer of information; it was more about having the power and ability to make a positive change in somebody’s life.”

Still, Josh considered himself more of a behind-the-scenes kind of guy; focusing on curriculum and instructional design. He balanced both worlds, while studying for his Masters degree in Information and Learning Technologies: E-Learning Design and Implementation.

San Joaquin Valley College gave him the perfect platform for a stronghold in both teaching and e-learning, as an Online instructor for the Clinical Medical Assisting program. “I could apply what I was learning in my Masters program to my SJVC class,” says Josh. “When upper management saw I had those types of skills, I started doing more course development and instructional design.”

“In addition to providing our students with outstanding support and guidance in their courses, Josh has been instrumental in revamping our Online Medical Assisting courses,” says Pamela Soto Gonzalez, Student Advisor. “His expert knowledge in the medical field and in online course environments has played a key role in the development of course curriculum.”

Josh enjoys both the discipline and creativity of teaching, and had two fine examples in each of his parents. Self-discipline came from Manley. “My father prided himself in never missing a day of work. Really. Ever. That’s the work ethic I’m talking about,” he says. “When we were kids, we had to go to school every day. Perfect attendance was the goal every year.” Josh, however, did not match his dad’s record.

From Usha, Josh developed his creative side, and a reverence for patience.

Work, as well as life with wife, Marie, daughter, Jonnece, and son, Jonah gave him plenty of opportunity to practice both discipline and patience.

Josh tells his students the same thing he tells his 15-year-old daughter. “Create standards and values for yourself,” he counsels, “and then live them.” He suggests those descriptors might include trust, respect, integrity and self-accountability. “Be mindful of your actions, as they reflect your personal values and standards.”

“Joshua Farquharson is a great instructor,” says Patrick Krebs, Online Division Manager. “His care and passion for the medical field and teaching reflect in his dedication to his students.”

At the end of each module, Josh likes to play a 30-second recording of deafening applause for all of his online students. “It’s my little token of appreciation and a way to let them know that they deserve this,” says Josh. “This is a way that I really connect with the students; and we know that we got to this point by what we did together in this class.” Students unfailingly feel the pride of this moment in this small tribute.

Josh describes his teaching style as one of support. But, his strongest suit is patience.

“Mom was the one who taught me patience,” says Josh. “She’s an artist, and I’m an artist, and you have to be very patient. You can’t focus on the initial sketches or drafts; you have to see the big picture. You can’t rush it; you have to be patient and keep pushing forward.”

This very powerful life message was not lost on his students. “Focus more on the goal than the challenge at hand,” says Josh. “When opportunities arise, it is natural to be timid or fearful. Just take a leap of faith; show up and watch what happens. You’d be surprised.”

Somewhere in the distance, there is the soft sound of applause.

Joshua Farquharson recently left SJVC to pursue his talents in instructional design and e-learning. SJVC wishes him continued success in his far-reaching career.


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