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 married to my best friend and the love of my life. The man who brings me back to earth when life throws me around and the man that I would walk to the end of the world for. 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.
Early in my teaching career and new motherhood struggles, something happened that changed me. Around Christmas of 2016, I found a lump on my hip. My first son was only 8 months at the time and my first thought when finding the lump was, “If I die, he won’t have known me. I can’t die. I have so much to teach him, I have so much to show him and so many hugs, this can’t be happening." My heart sank, and my mind went to the scariest places. I spent 6 long months in utter panic. Waiting, test after test. Then God gave me a blessing, the lump had disappeared and I was cleared! The doctors still do not know what happened and how it disappeared, but it did and I thank God every day for that. This was my chance to take my life seriously and reevaluate what I wanted for not only myself, but more importantly my family. Why is this event in my life relevant to me and knowing who I am? Because I am grateful, I am here and I give my all every second of the day, knowing that at any time it could be my last. I live each day with my family and my students with purpose and passion, not just to exist. The time passes, make the most of every second. Make it count!
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.
So, ya, this is me.