A life of Home Economics, professionally and personally, along with agriculture.
Diane O’Shea is a Professional Home Economist, and retired (June, 2017) Family Studies Teacher and Department Head in Family Studies and Social Sciences and Humanities at Medway High School (Thames Valley District School Board).
She freelanced as a professional Home Economist for many years and then completed a teaching degree at Western University. She began teaching Family Studies at the high school level in 1997 and retired in 2017. Began teaching Family Studies education at the Faculty of Education, Western in 2007 and continue to do so. Completed a Masters of Education in Home Economics Education (UBC, 2014) – yes learning really has to be lifelong!
She also farmed with her husband, Mike for over 40 years – beef feedlot, field crops of wheat, corn and white beans, but mainly in those years fresh market produce and agri-tourism. They owned O’Shea’s Farm Fresh Vegetables and Berries with on-farm and farmers markets venues.
She is a mom to four and now grammie to four.
I have been a member since 1989 and on the Board as Vice President Alliances. I feel badly that I could not take an executive position as I committed to one with OFSHEEA for several years and there was just too much with the farm, the children, teaching and curriculum development and writing. Since joining, I have rarely missed an annual conference and am currently the Co-Chair of OHEA.
I have a firm belief in the mission and philosophy of Home Economics. I admire deeply Adelaide Hoodless and more recently, Joanne Mackie, for their dedication to families and improving the lives and well-being of individuals and families – whether through food and nutrition, housing, textiles, human development and more. This was made more real to me in the experiences I have had with World Council and World Congresses of the International Federation for Home Economics.
I have to say, too, the Canadian Symposium for Home Economics, Human Ecology and Family Studies educators has been an inspiration, too. I attended in Vancouver in February 2019 and made a presentation about “Reviving Textiles”. In the past, I have presented on various topics but one that really stands out as significant: Integrating Aboriginal perspectives into food studies, the experience of a non-Aboriginal teacher in non-Aboriginal schools.
One of my favourite quotes from Adelaide is “A nation is only as strong as its homes and families”.
I often feel very frustrated that Home Economics is not taken more seriously. We live with such criticism and yet when I see all the wonderful things going on in schools and at Brescia University College and in other places in Canada and the world, I feel very rejuvenated.
I know how hard it is for the profession to speak out and advocate – we are mostly women in this profession and women who rightfully commit to their families and their work and it is a huge juggle. I know, I had to work through all that with our children, farm, freelancing and teaching. One can only stretch so far. Without a lot of the technology that we have today, I might add.
One thing I really wish I could have done, and I came close once, was to have a position with the local Health Unit or Community Health Clinic where my knowledge and skills related to food and families could be applied. I am doing a little of this now with the local health unit and a Food Bank but both in a volunteer capacity.
More about Diane O'Shea
Diane has authored several teaching resources in Family Studies education including Thinking Critically about Local Food as well as the Teacher’s Resource for the textbook, Individuals and Families: Diverse Perspectives (McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 2010) and the Teacher’s Resource for The Real Dirt on Farming. In addition to being the Assessment and Evaluation consultant for Elements: Food in Society, Food Preparation, and Nutrition and Healthy Eating (McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 2013), she provided recipe testing and development.
She has also provided services as an advisor, reviewer and Assessment and Evaluation consultant for Elements – Parenting, Raising Healthy Children and Elements – Child Care: Working with Infants, Children and Adolescents (McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 2014). More recently, she was a lead reviewer for E-learnng Ontario in developing an on-line course for Personal Life Management (HIP4O; 2015). In May 2017, Diane was part of a Teacher Learning Co-op through the Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF). The subsequent document, Encouraging Deeper Learning in the Fashion Classroom is posted on the OTF website.
Diane is an active member of the Ontario Family Studies, Social Sciences and Humanities Council, the Ontario Family Studies Home Economics Educators’ Association, the London and Ontario Home Economics Associations, and the International Federation of Home Economics. She co-ordinated Canadian Symposium XIV – Home Economics/Family Studies/Human Ecology/Family and Consumer Education: Issues and Direction in February 2017.
In November 2012, Diane was awarded the Adelaide Hoodless Award of Excellence which recognizes the vision of Adelaide Hoodless and the outstanding contributions she made to the profession. Hoodless was instrumental in the founding of Domestic Science education in Ontario, known today as Family Studies education. Hoodless' commitment to bettering the lives of individuals and families is what the recipient of this award demonstrates.
Wanting to learn more information about OHEA's history? Join us on March 23 for our annual conference which will be held in London, Ontario at Brescia University College. Visit oheaconference.ca or ohea.on.ca for more information about the agenda, speakers and to register. We look forward to seeing you there!