This article is part of an ongoing series to highlight fun/unique things different schools across the country are doing to attract students to their technician program, keep them engaged in the program, and set them up for a successful career as a technician.
Instructor Spotlight: David Carter
School: Great Lakes Adventist Academy
# of years teaching: 8 Years
Watch the Full Interview
Tell me a little bit about your program and how you got involved in the industry.
I’ve been teaching science at Great Lake Adventists Academy since 1991. A few years ago, the automotive instructor retired, and it looked like the program was going to die. I volunteered to start teaching automotive classes and now teach automotive, welding and science. We have four bays for our automotive students and one for welding. I don’t follow a strict curriculum. My goal is to solve a problem and help students get out of their comfort zones.
How do you attract students to your program?
A lot of it is word of mouth. Occasionally, we’ll have parents who will have an interest and they’ll suggest it to their students. We also set up a table with demonstrations for the elementary and middle school students who visit to see what we have to offer. We’ve definitely seen growth in our program over the last few years, and I’m hoping next year to see even more, especially the second year classes.
How do you get local industry involved in your classroom?
We’ve had several people who have taken the time to talk with our students and explain to them how they got into the business and the benefits of working in a dealership or independent shop. It’s been very valuable to the students because they can hear first hand from someone who is in the industry.
How do you use WrenchWay School Connect?
I’ve used WrenchWay School Connect as a tool for my students to explore different opportunities out there. There’s been a lot of good advertisements on there, and we’ve also submitted a video about our program. The students were very excited about that kind of exposure. Overall, it’s been a resource for our program, and a really valuable tool. It’s cool to see all the other schools out there. It makes me happy to know that it’s not dying off.
As an instructor, what is your biggest challenge and how do you overcome it?
Time is the biggest challenge. I only have 80 minutes every other day with the students, and it really extends a project when we’re working on somebody’s car. Thankfully, the people we work with are very patient with us because they recognize the value for the students to learn all these different repair procedures.