Thursday, September 17, 2009

Writing Exam Questions for the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Exam

I'm feeling a little worked right now!

I just spent the larger part of a day writing 15 questions for the Federation of State Massage Therapy Board's licensing exam (the MBLEx). Perhaps I should back up a bit. Back in the spring, I submitted an application to be a question writer for the MBLEx. I was (and am) a big supporter of the exam. From everything I could tell looking in from the outside, it was offering a very fair, consistent and well written test of how well prepared a massage therapist was to enter the profession. The test was fairly new, but our graduates were giving great feedback about it and I liked the way the FSMTB was comporting itself (to use a $5 word!).

So when I heard they were looking for content experts to write exam questions, I submitted my application right away. The application process included providing credentials, references, and a personal statement about why I wanted to be involved. I got chosen to participate and I'm really happy about it.

I signed a non-disclosure, confidentiality agreement. I got trained in the procedures. And then today I sat down to get started writing questions.

I have a new and HUGE respect for all the work that goes into this exam now! My submissions are, as required by FSMTB, researched and documented, and worded in a way that is hopefully clear and meets testing protocols.

The next step for my questions is to go to committee where I understand they will get extensively edited and rewritten. Then to more review before finally making it to what I can best describe as market testing. After much review and re-working, they will potentially be part of the MBLEx.

I'm completely impressed by this organization and delighted to be serving the cause of improving the licensing process for our profession. Even if I'm a little brain dead! Next time I'll know not to tackle 15 questions in one day.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Saying Goodbye to Davida

I know everything in this world is impermanent. But as much as I know and have experienced this truth, it's still sad to say goodbye to good friends. Davida Millburn has been a teacher at RMIHA for 6 years, and has been in my life since I moved to Durango in 1999 and started working at South West School of Massage. Davida and I shared a massage studio back then and since, we have shared ups and downs and connected on a deep level.

It's not just me who's been touched by Davida's insight and loving nature. She's been teaching massage students for over 20 years. She was at Heartwood in CA before she even moved to Durango and then at Silver Sword Academy in Dgo back in the DAY as they say.

When Davida agreed to teach at RMIHA, she was coming from a huge loss in her life and was willing to commit to teaching a small 20 hour course called the Realm of the Heart. She brought the tenderness of her recent loss with her into her preparation for the class. She was willing to be a beginner in teaching a course she'd never taught. (For all of you non-teachers out there, this can be very challenging, especially when you're used to teaching a different curriculum and the classroom is usually as comfortable as the proverbial worn in pair of slippers). Entering into new subject matter, Davida explored her own heart and opened it up to a new set of students. Since then, she has taken on more and more responsibility at the school and has become an integral part of the Heartworks Approach program and Asian Modalities.

Davida's moving a thousand miles from Durango and will be spending time with her family. In Durango, we can never replace her, but I know that she won't really be gone either. Last graduation, one of the students shared that he was working on another graduate from a few years before. As he was working on her hara, she said, "Oh, I can feel Davida's hands through yours." I shared that with a couple of other people and got the same feedback: "Yes, that's happened to me too!" It's beautiful and amazing how literally she is touching so many people receiving bodywork today.

RMIHA was blessed to have her on our faculty and even as I say goodbye and acknowledge the transition that's occurring, I acknowledge that she will always be with us. Lucky us!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pre-Event Massage for the Durango Ultimate Frisbee Tournament

On Saturday, three of the students went to the Durango SKA Brewing Hat Ultimate Frisbee Tournament and gave pre-event massages to the players in the tournament. They had just finished a week of Sports Massage Class and were able to try out what they'd just learned.

They did lots of sports stretching and specialty techniques for getting athletes prepared for competition. Here's a shot of one of the students in the middle of a low back stretch. Sometimes when students learn sports stretching techniques, they are a little hesitant to try them out because it's something new and different from the basic massage strokes. These guys did great though and it was really fun for me to watch them just diving in and giving it a try.

I'm guessing it helped that the participants in the tournament were laid back and fun. I know they cared about their sport, but they also cared about connecting with each other and enjoying themselves, so it made it really fun to do massages for the event. Here are some of the players at the massage sign up table. You can probably see what I mean about the laid back vibe.
To see more photos from the day, click on our Ning Photo Album.