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Creativity and Resilience Power Skilled Trades Teachers Through Remote Learning

We’ve been blown away by the creativity, resilience and humility of trades teachers in bringing hands-on learning of critical skills to remote learning. We asked a few of our prizewinning teachers for their advice to other educators in this challenging time:

“We are the true experts in our field and it’s up to us to make remote learning valuable. No online coursework will ever replace working with their hands.”
– Gary Bronson
Diesel Mechanics at Laurel Oaks Career Center, 2018 Prize Winner

“Reach out to networks of educators in your field. The creativity and practicality of teaching trades-based programs during a pandemic hasn’t been as daunting as some people initially think it is. There are a lot of people doing great things that you can copy or modify to fit your own classroom needs.”
– Justin Pickard
Welding at Paso Robles High School, 2018 Prize Winner

“Be patient but dream big and push the kids to higher goals. They are itching for something to do.”
– Patrick Wadsworth
Technical Writing at Gulfport High School, 2017 Prize Winner

“Don’t give up. Some days are crazy, but when you get your students showing up, learning, and see excitement, you know you can beat this challenge. That is what teachers do!”
– Jeff Cesari
Diesel and Power Equipment at Bucks County Career and Technical Center, 2018 Prize Winner

“Go slow and check in with all the kids regularly. Call the missing ones during asynchronous learning time in class.”
– Eric Dyer
Agriculture Engineering and Auto at Woodland High School, 2019 Prize Winner

“Keep doing what you know how to do best. Share your experiences and continue to let your kids know you will be there for them.”
– David White
Auto Technology at Parkside High School, 2017 Prize Winner

“Connect with other instructors to get ideas. Don’t be scared to try things and adjust as you go. Get feedback from your students.”
– Brent Trankler
Welding at Sikeston Career and Technology Center, 2019 Prize Winner


We also asked our teachers what new projects they’ve assigned to students with the toolkits in mind:

“I have assigned for my virtual students changing a tire, performing an oil change, building an electrical project that runs on 12 volts and uses electrical components, and building small d/c electrical motors. Not exactly one project, but we’re constantly on the move!”
– Robert Caylor
Automotive at Gulfport High School, 2020 Prize Winner

“We are building and testing simple circuits. We’re also using the multimeters to do some simple testing around the house and under the hood of the family vehicles.”
– Ken Cox
Automotive at Redwood High School, 2019 Prize Winner

“We are making a windmill from sheet metal. We are inspired by Mr. William’s ‘How I Harnessed the Wind’ TedTalk from 2009!”
– Eric Dyer
Agriculture Engineering and Auto at Woodland High School, 2019 Prize Winner

“The auto mechanic teacher and I have combined our classes and are co-teaching with the kits. We have taught wiring symbols and then with components that I have added to the kits we discussed each of the components and the wiring symbol that would match that component.
– Gary Bronson
Diesel Mechanics at Laurel Oaks Career, 2018 Prize Winner