Welding professionals have always struck me as being loyal to their industry and proud of the work that they do. But it’s the welding educators who have left an impression because of the lengths they are willing to go to for their students and their programs.
Many times the role of welding teacher requires educators to wear a variety of hats. In other words, they are more to their students than just the people who hand out grades or critique their GTAW technique. Whether or not students will admit it, teachers are mentors, drill sergeants, parents, and, on occasion, friends.
Just about anyone can show up and preach to a group of people on how to do something. But the ability to captivate and inspire that group requires a passion for the subject matter and a commitment to helping people succeed. That commitment typically translates into working long hours and dealing with limited budgets, overcrowded classrooms, and dated curriculums. Many teachers also take on the responsibility of marketing their weld programs, which, as we all know, is tough; they must find creative ways to combat the negative perception of welding young people and, more importantly, their parents have.
You’ll find teachers are the focus of two feature articles in this issue. In our cover story, “SMAW is in session,” three welding educators discuss stick welding and how it fits into their curriculums. This issue’s Artist’s Gallery features a motorsport welding instructor who discovered a talent for metal sculpting as a result of a practical joke.
But the focus on welding educators doesn’t end with this issue. Later this year PWT will select a welding educator to profile for the issue’s cover story. To do this, we need your help. We’d like you to nominate a welding educator that you believe has gone above and beyond the call of duty to prepare his or her welding students for a career in the field. Is there a teacher in your past who was instrumental in leading you toward your “light bulb” moment? Did someone demonstrate a seemingly never-ending amount of patience with you or dole out a steady dose of tough love? Do you recall a teacher who totally captured or challenged you with a unique teaching style? If so, tell me about it. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your nominations until May 1.
Great welders are made in large part because of great welding teachers. And welders who are skilled, enthusiastic, and passionate about their trade will help keep our industry alive and moving forward.
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