Meet the Maker
Hi, I’m Karen Jordan. The hard quick facts is that I am a hard working woman that has a strong passion for working with my hands. I’m an Industrial Arts (high school shop) teacher who has worked in male dominant sectors for the majority of my life and I have loved it. I am a complete jack of all trades but I focus mainly in woodworking. I have met diversity and struggle but I have also met the biggest supports of my life. I have been met with hostility and sexism, but I have also been met with open hearts and minds and in fact, males have been the majority of my biggest supporters through the hardest of times. I have been involved in woodworking and carpentry for over 21 years, with many years in welding, small engines and dabbling in so many other trades. I get dirty, I get hurt, I build, I learn, I create and I couldn’t work in any other area. I am where I need to be.
School never came easy to me and I didn’t think I would make it through (many others didn’t think I would either). But I realized my strengths after high school and everything changed. I started appreciating the fact that I was no cookie cutter woman like I was expected to be and in that, I changed my outlook, my goals and my idea of success. When I have a goal, I invest my heart and soul. I went from being a high school mess and skipping school to graduating from the University of Saskatchewan with honors in Industrial Arts B.Ed. and back to high school as a teacher. Now that’s a full circle! My journey has been a struggle and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Not only do I understand what my students are going through, but I can show them examples of change, hope and success all around us. I see the world through a very different lens and challenge them to do the same.
My failures are my life and from them I grow. From not being able to keep houseplants alive to hoarding plants and needing their wonders around me. I fail at making wonderful meals most of the time, I hate baking and style has no home in my life! I can’t decorate to save my life and I say the wrong thing most of the time. Spelling and math are my intense weaknesses, but yet I could easily talk to a crowd of 300. I mess up projects and have to try again. I break equipment and then have to figure out how to fix it. I am a woman who not only owns my weaknesses, but who also conquers them. I am quirky, I am strange, and finally, at 35 years old, can truly say I love myself and all I am, truly. I feel free, and me.
I was born and raised on a farm outside of Moose Jaw. I had the priveledge to live and teach in London, England and to travel the world. Thailand, Mexico, Italy, Poland, Scotland, Ireland, France, and all across Canada and the United States. I have seen sever poverty that many can't even imagine, all the way to the richest of the riches. And through all that, some how I ended up right where I started and right where I said I would never move back to, Moose Jaw.
I have the most amazingly beautiful miracle sons who challenge me to be the most amazing mom I can, even when I feel like I am failing. I am beyond BLESSED and grateful for their presence in my life as I was told since I was young that I may not be able to be a mom. Being a mom is my real job and my real passion that I dedicate my life to, everything else is just a plus. I am an auntie to strange little life forms that make my heart melt daily and I am a sister to the coolest siblings who make me so insanely proud to be a Mealing. I am daughter to the most loving and supportive parents that God could have ever blessed me with and without their endless love and true support I would not have made it to where I am. I am Karen Nicole Mealing-Jordan.
In the last 10 years I have struggled hard to find my place and my role as a teacher in a struggling and changing society. I feel deeply and I invest in students even deeper. My heart has no walls which means I also hurt deeply and I try to fix the world’s problems. I love sharing my passions with my students. I have a passion for woodworking, welding, and all DIY projects and I believe that every student will flourish with the chance to accomplish something with their own two hands. I believe that kids need to be grounded and shown ways to use their energy and their hands to expel energy, to have an outlet and to have a deep appreciation for what it takes to build the world around them. I want them to sit in a waiting room and dissect the furniture, understand it and know how it’s built and how to replicate it. I want them to understand the grain, the joinery and the tree the wood comes from, to see our world as an interconnected cycle within nature. I want them to walk out of here with an appreciation for our ready-made world. Kids are too connected. Cell phones 24/7. Here, they have the ability to disconnect and then reconnect to the life cycle, many times without even realizing it.
Someone once asked me, "If you could wave a magic wand, what would your perfect life look like?" I think about this a lot, and, after years of work and understanding who I am and what I want in my heart, this is my response:
I would laugh daily, and seek the things that filled my heart. I would take less to heart and dance more. I would show passion to those who wanted to see it and I would pray for those who needed more passion in their lives. I wouldn’t take on others' problems or make them my own, but I would give them strength, reassurance and a smile. I would bless and release all that does not serve me. I would understand that my job neither defines me or boxes me in, I am free and I have two feet to move me around this world with an open heart. I would be free to move around this world as I please, with my faith in God to support the challenges I face. I would follow my heart, not society's expectations. I would understand that just because the world appears to be crumbling, that I don’t have to crumble with it. That I have the freedom to make my own decisions and the confidence and courage to be myself. I would let my hair down, I would be silly and I WOULD CREATE WITHOUT LIMIT.
When I say the statement above out loud, my shoulders release tension and a smile grows across my face. A sense of calm comes over me and I know that it is my truth. This is what I aim to create in my world, my family's world and my students' world. So here I am, striving for health, happiness and some calm in this crazy life while trying to instill this in my students as well.
With 21 years in the industry and many industries
I know who I am.
I'm a motor cycle riding, woodworking, welding, gardener, mother, artist, teacher and creator who works my way through life, one project at a time.
Many days I feel lost. But most days I am grounded, knowing that I am where I need to be.
This is me.