Summer school assignment: select best instructor

July 20, 2000
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School may be out for the summer, but class is still in session for The News editorial team. Our assignment is to select the winner in our first-ever Hvacr Instructor of the Year contest. (And our teacher wants an answer by the end of next month, if not sooner.)

For the record, we have received 114 entrants. We’re proud of that because it shows that many of our hvacr students cared enough about their teachers to take the time to fill out nomination forms and send them via mail, fax, or e-mail.

It would be easy to call all of the instructors “winners” and you know something? They all are. We could pile up testimonial after testimonial to the credentials of each nominee — the fact that many run an hvacr business and find time to teach; that others travel around their regions teaching several classes; and that most have had extensive experience in the field as well as management and sales experience.

But I, personally, want to share the human side of these men and women — the side that means just as much to students as technical expertise.

Choice words

That’s why I’d like to list a few responses our readers sent to us (keeping their anonymity intact, of course). I’ll use the pronoun “he” because most of our nominees are male, although some female instructors made the list:

  • “He gave me, among others, good ideas, and hope for the future.”

  • “He has a deep interest in all of his students.”

  • “He understands that some students do not take tests well, so he bases our grades on overall performance.”

  • “He is the first teacher I have actually liked to learn from.”

  • “His motto of ‘never stop learning’ will stay with many of us throughout our careers.”

  • “He’s the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back if necessary.”

  • “He always encourages us to go for our dreams.”

  • “He eats, sleeps, and dreams air conditioning.”

  • “He will always be there for me, and I know I can always talk to him if I need any help with anything.”

  • “He has turned green, scared kids into highly trained and motivated mechanics.”

  • “With what this man knows he could go anywhere and make double what he is making [here].”

  • “He gives more back to the community than he takes.”

  • “He comes off as a hard a** but if you listen to what he tells you and pay attention, you can learn more from him than any other instructor.”

  • “He continues to update the program to keep up with changing technology, and fights to get the materials needed to keep the curriculum current.”

  • “I wouldn’t have gone this far without his help.”

  • “He not only taught me about a great trade, but self-respect and responsibility for your actions.”

There are more. Plenty more.

Touching, too

It is touching to know that one student nominated a former instructor who has been diagnosed with lung cancer. Our prayers go out to him and his family. Another touching story involves a nominated instructor who wanted us to know his motivation for being an hvacr instructor.

“I am not in the program for recognition,” he wrote. “I am there for them [students]. Someone took the time to help me many years ago and I feel it is my responsibility to return the deed. I have a very successful hvacr business and teach the evening classes at the community college to help the men and women who want to learn a skill to improve their lives.

“I thank all of the students and you at The News, but I am not in this for any gain on my part. If it will help the school, or the industry, that is a different story. I do what I do for their benefit. Thank you anyway, but I am not a candidate.”

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