Congratulations to Kenneth Shuler Schools of Cosmetology-Greenville instructor Wendi Ingalls for winning the N.F. Cimaglia "Educator of the Year" award! This prestigious award is co-sponsored by the American Association of Cosmetology Schools and Milady, and given to one educator each year who has exhibited the most significant contribution toward upgrading professional standards of educational excellence. The honor, along with $2,500 and other prizes courtesy of Milady, was awarded to Ingalls this past July at the CEA Annual Convention in Hollywood, Florida. Nail School News caught up with Ingalls to hear more about what makes her such a great educator.
Do you teach hair, nails, esthetics, or all three? Do you have a specialty?
I teach cosmetology. Color and cutting is my specialty. I love my work. I always tell everyone I have the best job in the house.
In what ways have you upgraded professional standards of educational excellence?
Our company has upgraded cosmetology education in the whole state of S.C. We have the highest standards for our instructors as a whole, and I work hard every day to live up to that standard. I teach my students to always be the best they can be, and I lead them by example. I personally have had a lot of additional training in both color, cutting, interpersonal skills, and business, which I bring to the classroom, along with my life experience.
What advice do you have for other beauty school instructors on improving the student experience?
I try to develop a level of trust, just like I did with my clients in the salon. Adult learners like to feel like they have a certain amount of control over their education. If I can allow them to make a decision, I do it. It helps their comfort level. I also do not want to come off as a know-it-all. I want them to know that they have great ideas, and can think for themselves.
What’s unique about your teaching style?
When I teach, I just carry on a conversation with my students. The more we discuss, the more they learn.
What’s your favorite lesson to teach and why?
I love to teach about finger position while cutting hair. It makes me laugh when they realize they turn their hands to see what they are cutting, and are putting bevel in the hair. It’s all about the little things.
What do you find most rewarding about being an instructor?
The most rewarding thing about teaching for me is seeing students’ eyes when they get the “light bulb.” You can see when they understand what you have been trying so hard to explain.
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