Posts Tagged ‘Certification’

AYES, Automotive Yes! Why should I have an AYES program?

August 23, 2011

Automotive Youth Educational Systems and School to Career Opportunities.

When we go to purchase something like a automobile we look for the features and benefits. If the car does not have the features I want or require, then I may not buy the car. Here is a story tellers view of the question “Why should I have an AYES program ?”

A new dealership had opened and I wanted to meet the owner to let him know about my AYES program www.ayes.org; so I called for an appointment after school so I could stop by on my way home. The new dealership was expansive,  high tech, and geared for sales and service with all operations in one location.   The old one he had bought out was small and family owned. The new dealership was a GM franchise. I have students at another GM dealership nearby in another city. The day of the appointment I arrived fifteen minutes early, presented my card and asked the receptionist to tell Mr. Dealer I was there for our 4:30 appointment.

see https://autoteachersonny.wordpress.com/2009/11/ for this  story on Advisory Committee building.

I wandered around the showroom and when the sales people found out I was not buying they immediately ignored me. After about an hour a person came out and handed me a check for $50.00 made out to the school. I said “What’s this?” and was told that was the amount they gave to schools as they assumed I was here about the Yearbook. I quickly explained this was not my purpose, as I handed back the check and began explaining my AYES program to the owner. He, then, introduced me to all the key staff. The dealership and I began a long and mutually beneficial relationship where we placed many students through the years. Eventually all the dealerships in that small county were on the Advisory Committee. Did the owners show up at all the meetings? No. Did some one from the dealership attend? Not always, but enough came to where I always had enough to do business. Would they have attended if all I had done was call on the phone or write a letter? No.

This is one the major benefits of an AYES program. The development of a active Business and Education Advisory Committee is so much easier with the power of AYES. While NATEF accreditation validates your program, AYES gives you the relationships to open doors at the dealerships. When I first attended an AYES conference Don Gray was speaking on the value of relationships and I being new to AYES followed his plan to build relationships so that my students would benefit.  “It is all about relationships” Don Gray

I can make a call or an email to the key people at our OEM partners of AYES and have someone that knows me, has a interest in our interns and possibly help with the hiring of the intern by a reluctant dealership. The relationships we build at our conferences and meetings is priceless in today’s employment market.

We could look at the tangible features of AYES like the resources of OEM service and training. Online we have the latest service information and finest training from the partners of AYES. Our partners also open their training centers doors for AYES instructors each summer on a space available basis so that we can obtain our 40 hours of Service Training. Honda has for several years set aside a week for instructors to train at their Southeast Training Center. I used the Honda curriculum materials to train a class for one semester. I told the students they were special and this was Honda training developed for them, only this class was privileged to use the training and they respected that by applying themselves to the tasks. Now a few years later those same students that were trained as entry level “Express Service Techs” are at the same dealerships they were interned at and now enjoying gainful employment in their chosen career.

I do feel that the benefit that is worth the most is “intangible” and this benefit relates back to the development and maintenance of the Business and Industry Council. It is through those relationships we build every day as an instructor of an AYES program that our programs grow! Our students are introduced to the world of work, interviewed, job shadow and intern with their mentor at the businesses in our communities. This why we say that AYES is the premier “School to Work Career Model” in the USA.

To learn more about AYES visit http://www.ayes.org   To learn more about NATEF visit http://www.natef.org

NATEF Certified, To be or Not to be………. August 2010

August 14, 2010

The average auto teacher is overworked and under paid. Got your attention! We could spend the rest of the week complaining and debating this statement. I recently toured European schools and the teacher’s number one complaint is the lack of time. (Note: see Dec Blog about time management) Same as here, we do not have time to shift gears or implement new ideas until the summer, winter, or spring break, if we are not completing personal courses of study, working on personal improvement or family experiences during those short times. Our classes are overwhelming in these times of bad economy when everyone that can’t find a job or seeks retraining wants to be a technician of some sort at the Technical College and in our High Schools the rigorous requirements of NCLB impact us in painful ways. It would be a lot easier if no one ever brought up the notion of being industry certified, would it not? What are some of the reasons your program is certified? What are the reasons it is not certified or the certification has lapsed? Let’s look at both sides here and try to be positive, open and realistic in our examination of this controversial subject.

Many times I have presented workshops for teachers to learn the NATEF process only to discover later that nothing changed at their school. Why? Lack of support is often blamed but why would the administration send the teacher to a workshop and then not support them for certification? One of the many items we covered in the workshop was how to apply for the industry certification grants the state provides. I discovered in some cases schools got the grant, spent it and did nothing else. A few never bothered to write the grant. When asked why they admitted procrastination or blamed someone who is now gone. Sometimes Administration would blame the teacher and while in some cases the teacher may be the problem, the teacher says otherwise.

Let’s look objectively at several possible scenarios and examine the cause and effect of the different paths we can take. If we take a positive look at the NATEF process we will discover all the items we see as being negative are a positive improvement for our programs overall health. I can show you that each of the standards used properly will benefit your students, the auto program and make the teachers job easier in the long run. If you have not read the standards I would advise you do so soon. They are located here http://www.natef.org/program.cfm I will be referencing them in this essay.

We can begin our process by developing our advisory or Business and Education Council. I know of no really great program that does not have a viable, dynamic and focused advisory. Sure, it is a pain and a lot of work to develop the relationships, and hours are spent going from place to place meeting new people, organizing and planning the events. See https://autoteacher.net/AYES_Page.php for helps and tips on developing and maintaining the B&E council.

Once you have a working advisory in place then you can share the promotion of your students. You have a source of donations and help when you have needs. Some advisory councils have developed Education Foundations for the program. This gives non-profit status and allows a free flow of donations without the entanglement of school/college rules that hinder fund-raising. After initial start-up two programs I developed were fully funded by donations from the Advisory. A warning sign of a poor advisory is more educators than industry on the council. The worst thing you can do is invite a dealership/owner/service manager to an evening of “Ed speak Presentations.”

See https://autoteachersonny.wordpress.com/2009/11/ for more on Advisory Committees

What does the Advisory do in a well run program? What NATEF Standards do they have input and direction? Std. 2.3 T&E, 6.5, 6.14, 7. 7.5, 8.11 If you allow the stakeholders to work with you on these you will share the burden of implementing the standards.

If we need new tools and equipment and who does not? We can plan a list based on the standards.

NATEF does have a list of hand tools, equipment and special tools that are considered necessary for training. http://www.natef.org/program_standards/auto.cfm I will not bore you with repeating what is written in the document. I will share with you this true story. A career center was planned by a school system. A well-meaning administration got a copy of the tool list and found some tool dealers and sent them the list. The bids were looked at and the lowest bidder picked. The building was built by the system. All the labs were designed alike. The tool bid winner asked for the number of students in a class and sold the school system 24 sets of every hand tool. Can you imagine 24 police grade Mag lights? The lab got offshore brand equipment, can you say not certified safe lifts and substandard special tools? Can you imagine dial indicators that fall apart when used or micrometers that don’t mike? Can you see a multimeter that burns out in a week of student use? Textbooks were ordered off the list from the state without review to see if content was relevant. Trainers that are not transitional trainers are bought at high prices that student learn nothing on except to operate the games. The money ran out before the alignment lift could be ordered. Several key big-ticket items were not purchased. The well-meaning administrator then looked for a teacher via the DOE channels. The teacher they hired had failed as a technician and the system he had worked as a teacher before was glad he moved on. Three years later the program is closed for lack of students. What could have been done different? Could the NATEF standards have prevented this expensive mistake? Consider this scenario.

An administrator is assigned to develop the new auto program. He/She forms a team of teachers, counselors, work based learning coordinators and interested parties. The community auto businesses are surveyed by the team by calling on the dealer principals and shop owners for interviews with them face to face. Community Civic Organizations, Std 2.6 are presented with preliminary plans that ask for local input. The State program specialists are contacted and teacher position is placed on the state and local site. An advisory committee is formed from the survey of local businesses, Std 2.5. By this time the team has set up a chain of command of the interested stakeholders Std 2.2. Std 1.1 and Std 1.2 are being formed by the committee. Std 2.3 has been presented to the system leadership and Std 2.6 and 4.2, 5.6 are on the table for the leadership to act upon. The advisory has formed a team to plan the shop/lab layout with a focus on safety and learning as in Std 2.4. Another team is developing Std. 6.1 with an eye to emerging technology, DOE curriculum and incorporation of Science, Math and Language Arts. The advisory council’s next agenda item is Std 7.2 the selection and recommendations for tool and equipment needs for the program. The safety, Std 7.1 of the learning environment is foremost in all these proceedings. As soon as the building/renovation is complete the teams inspect and report on the new lab and classroom, Std 8.6 should have been addressed in the early plans of the site. During this walk through Std 8.11 is addressed. During this time the selection of an instructor is being done with interviews being held for qualified applicants. Std 9.1 requires ASE certification be current and the instructor continuing with industry recognized update training. Careful consideration with as many stakeholders in the program having input in the selection of a teacher for he/she is the key to an excellent program. After selection the  teacher is enrolled in a  Teacher Training to prepare a person out of industry for the rigors of the  classroom.  Now that we are at this point we see that the NATEF standards while minimum, their requirements are the framework a great program can be built upon. Once this basic work outlined here is done we can continue to build upon this foundation and have a truly great program ready for site evaluation in a few school years. All of these suggestions should be considered a continuous process and not a one time agenda item. See for more information    A guide to program certification 

Now what are your objections? Here are a few common ones. I would love to hear your story if I do not cover it here.

“I don’t have enough time in my school year for the required hours.”

This is a structure problem with a lot of high schools. Consider articulation with a post secondary and only certify your program in two areas. Consider a work based learning co-op program with local businesses for after school mentored training. Consider the General Service Technician Training Program, GST Certification which is according to the instructors I have talked with that are using the GST model works very well for Secondary schools. Consider adding a summer internship class or summer class to add more contact hours. Explore the new Std 11 and step into the 21st Century with your students. If done carefully learning can become constant and time the variable. You can place 25% of your instructional time into the e learning category if you follow the standard.

“I don’t have enough time in the school class period”

Some schools only have 50 minute classes. While this may work in a History class and is fine for teaching Spanish it will not allow for safe and proper delivery of a lab class.  A shop/lab teacher with requirements to teach hands on subject matter with a performance based assessment (std 6) can not safely and efficiently do the tasks in a 50 or 45 minute period. Clean up/ Lab set up time eat up effective instructional time. Present a plan to combine periods for your students in these short periods. A 100 minute class will give the organized teacher time to teach and the students can perform in a safe learning environment. The schedule and/or registering requirements of students should not place them in unsafe labs.

“I don’t have enough time (personal) “

If you are in this position and can not find a watch with more than 24 hours on the face then take a step back and examine your day. If you can not organize, plan and develop procedures to do your job with relative comfort, safety and deliver quality instruction then “What is wrong with this picture?”  I suggest you join NACAT and create, share and enjoy the fellowship. The networking with the very best auto teachers on the planet will be worth the time and expense of membership. Many times I have needed something for my class an a fellow teacher in another state I would have never met outside of NACAT will share the “Wheel” so I don’t have to reinvent the “Wheel”  See www.nacat.org

see for more on this https://autoteachersonny.wordpress.com/2010/01/

“I have no funds/money/budget”

Currently there are several grants out there for auto teachers. Are they going to call you up and deliver the cash? No, are they going to write themselves? No, Do you have to be a skilled grant writer? No, I obtained many grants by asking many more than I got. Were they hard to write? No, some were fill in the blank online and easy, some were difficult and required a team to develop. In a recent work shop I presented at NACAT 2010, an instructor from California shared how she had a grant from a source I quote http://www.grants.gov/ Her school will get $2 million for Hybrid, Alt vehicle study. Another source is to take a Skills USA student to the local civic clubs and have them speak, a 3-5 minute speech on why they are in Skills, or auto and then you talk for a few  minutes on your program and the benefits to the community. Then ask for donations! I do know this if you don’t ask you won’t get.

Is the NATEF process perfect? No, nothing with us humans is. We can work together to make a better NATEF. The NATEF staff are certainly focused on helping you. The NATEF President knows what you face each day having been an auto teacher and a technician. No one likes change but wet babies but our industry is changing so fast; only by staying on top can you deliver the technical instruction the new market place requires.

Bottom line is that you can leverage every NATEF Standard to have the type of program that students will demand to be in. Business will support the program because they will see the  market place value in the program. Your leaders and school boards can be proud of because of the excellence of the graduates. I have visited many good programs. I have visited many great programs. All the excellent programs were NATEF Certified. The choice is yours. Email me if I can be of service. See for more information https://autoteacher.net/

Sonny Reeves

http://www.linkedin.com/in/autoteachersonny

Work Smart Not Hard!

January 18, 2010

Work Smart Not Hard!       January Auto Teacher Newsletter

We spoke of time and the lack there of in our frantic pace the education system demands of us last month. How do you manage time? Family first and that means how many hours? Sleep? Normal things we do to fulfill Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. That leaves little time for our students. At this point we have more roads to take in our journey. Do we give the school/students more of our time than we are not paid for? Or do we clock in and out like a factory worker? I assume you are more of the former than the latter as most all teachers I visit and meet with are dedicated to the excellence of their teaching. Some consider their teaching a calling from God and it shows in their programs success in spite of all the difficult times we all face.  All that being said let’s move on to finding ways to do more without working harder but working smarter. Here are some questions for you.

Do you have file drawers full of papers you don’t need?  Can’t find what you need when you need it a week/month/year later? Consider placing your documents in an online folder by scanner or using a camera to take pictures of each document. Several free sites will give you space in the cloud to store your pictures, files and other documents. Example: Windows Skydrive, Google’s Gmail resources.

Taking notes in meetings and then don’t remember what was important? Or in my case can’t read my notes or remember what was said. Consider recording the meeting on an audio file, or video and audio example: Flip HD Camera or Sony audio recorder. I videoed my entire Business and Education Advisory Committee meeting last time we met because the person who was to take notes was absent.

See: Advisory Meeting

“Reinventing the Wheel.” This is the big one in MHO. I made my first NACAT meeting in 1999. We met in Charleston at Dan Perrin’s school Trident Technical College. I still maintain the relationships I gained at that first meeting. Many times I have needed a document, test, multimedia or rubric that has been quickly supplied by my sustaining resources in the NACAT organization. Many good teachers become so bogged down by details and requirements of the day they wind up doing many tasks to prepare their classrooms the hard way instead of the smart way. They remind me of the wood sawer that never had time to sharpen the saw.  Many good teachers do not go to conferences, network or develop relationships with veteran teachers even though this could be the most valuable time spent.

Several times I have been called by CTAE Directors to work with the Auto Teacher and find that they are struggling with several issues; classroom control, academic requirements, maintenance of the lab, equipment, live work, and a host of daily details. Some have been genuinely surprised when they are introduced to other auto teachers in my workshops, on IATN (www.iatn.net) and at conferences. The surprise comes when the discovery is made that we all endure the same problems and can achieve the same successes by networking.

I will assume some of this goes back to our competitive nature we learned on the shop floor as flat raters or shop owners competing for customers. One of the worst fights I ever saw in the U. S. was at a GM dealership I worked at years ago (all the cars had fins!) Two mechanics (that is Technicians nowadays) were on flat rate and both had the same qualities of experience and skills. They were good friends and joked with each other, went hunting together and of course played jokes on everybody. The fuss started like any other day at the shop with a joke here and a joke there. Neither of the men locked their toolboxes when they went to lunch or test drove. Al put dog food in the Bill’s tool box because he said “Bill is getting all the gravy so here is some gravy train!” The next day Bill greased Al’s lock on his tool box and it went downhill from there. Both were locking their tools up and everyone was acting grumpy. Al took a few more jokes from Bill and then when Bill was gone on a test drive he drilled a hole in the side of Bill’s tool box and inserted a grease fitting. Using the shop’s high pressure grease gun it pumped chassis lube until it ran out the edges of the locked box. Well, Bill and Al fought and were fired on the spot. I sure am glad that I don’t have to work in conditions like that anymore. We would call it “Horseplay” in our labs and quickly put a stop to it.

I hope all of you are ready for this New Year and have a good start so far. I know budgets are tight and furloughs are occurring in many systems. Try to go to as many conferences and workshops as you can, join NACAT www.nacat.org, network with as many teachers as you can, call any new teacher in your area and offer a hand of fellowship to them. I hope to meet and see all of you in Orlando this July at the NACAT national conference. If your state does not have a NACAT get a few teachers together, call NACAT national and see how to set up your own state chapter.

Enjoy, Share, Create!

Sonnyjreeves@hotmail.com

Last month’s

https://autoteachersonny.wordpress.com/

If you want time, You must make it

December 12, 2009

Time                                                                                        Teacher’s News letter December 2009

The bane of our educational existence is constant and immortal. I have not met a teacher that has enough time. We serve our students Bell to Bell. Then even more time is used to care for our lab, prepare for the next day’s instruction and begin the fast paced cycle again. Our battle is dubious and our enemy is time. We may be able to cast out the demons of dumbness and raise our students to higher standards but we still face the constraints of time. Our students are not always aware of our challenge to deliver quality instruction in the time allowed. When I informed my students of the tasks we must accomplish in a semester they shrugged it off as my problem not theirs.

A few years back Dale Fasenmeyer of the PTEC CAP program in St. Pete Florida and now AYES coordinator for PTEC used the Chrysler Flat Rate Manual and the NATEF Task list to analyze the real time vs the curriculum time required to do the Steering and Suspension A4 course in the time allowed by the school system. What he found was that the flat rate to do the tasks in the course would pay over 400 hours to a technician in the dealership yet the instructor only has 150 hours to teach the course. Now Dale used common sense and grouped related tasks to figure time so don’t think he was not practical in his calculations. We talk of completing the course; following the syllabus and lesson plans, yet we know that some students just do not get it! Let’s be honest here and don’t drink the popular lemonade that says all children can learn. That statement is in many school mission statements but I feel it is too wide a brush to paint a picture of our classrooms today.  Now if you think that all children can learn you need to stop reading right now because I know I have taught many children to lead productive lives in our industry; yet some will be good technicians, some will one day own their own businesses, while some will be those that work hard but not smart. We won’t speak of the others, those that are not interested in learning. Well I will share this one with you!

I had a student a while back that  had a lot of behavior and motivation problems. I sent him to the principal and she asked him why was he here if he did not want to be a learner in my class. He said” I’m here for th’ wemens and th’ food!” He was 19 in the 10th grade, his mom was 33 and she was no help in the problems he caused. I think she became a grandmother before the year was out.

I feel that our education system needs to be a place where learning is constant and time is variable, not the system we have now where time is the master and learning is by the numbers. So many potentially good students are beaten down by subjects they will never use and are not taught the subjects with the relevance they need in a way that meets their learning style. Example: My wife teaches middle grades science and she asked me for some ways to teach the principles of electricity. I gave her loads of material to use and she protested she only had one and a half hours in the semester to teach electricity. Did you know that it is possible to leave middle school and never have taken a science class? Did you know that some students can get to the 9th grade having never passed a class in any subject at any grade level in our current system. Over 70% of middle grade students in some states are passed by this method. It is called social promotion.

Imagine a world where you as a student learn what you want when you want. I am getting way out of the box now and even say get rid of the box as it often hinders learning. I like the statement from Jeff Curtis at NACAT 2009 “Learning should be Viral” I will not bore you with numbers I can’t remember, but the largest population in our prisons are High School drop outs. What we are doing as a nation in education is not working.  Let’s imagine students that come to your class because they learn there, not that you teach, but that they know they will learn in your class/lab because you are the facilitator of the learning process. You open windows of opportunity and learning for them. Now you can’t raise the dead or walk on water but students know they will learn when they become stake holders in your class/lab. You enable, you inspire and you require the student to meet your standards. Our good students will thrive in this environment, our less than good or to be politically incorrect: behavior disordered, unmotivated students would not get it if you injected it into their vacant skulls. In 15 years of teaching I never figured out what to do with them. Maybe the proponents of the NCLB and “Everyone can Learn” theory of education will one day get their car fixed by a student that was socially promoted, only made the minimum passing grade in the shop classes and is now been hired to work at a dealership because the dealer can’t find enough qualified applicants that want to work with their hands in our craft. I wonder what they will say about the work that is done incorrectly on their expensive vehicle. Will they say ‘ Oh that’s alright, He is doing the best he can” or as my 3rd grade teacher said as she patted me on my shoulder “Bless your little heart” What she really meant was “You ain’t never gonna get this!”

Do not waste that most precious commodity on them “Time.”

Imagine the students online with a cutting edge curriculum that requires the student to interact and move the mouse to make things happen as they would under the hood. Not watching a video or reading volumes of text but very accurate technical graphics with learning the way students live/learn embedded in the lessons. Imagine the student online at home, on their phone, in the media center, the city library or at any time. When I introduced this learning style to my students they quickly adapted to it because I required the learning online as a prerequisite to the lab. My students will do anything to get into the lab/shop. I made it a requirement that they successfully complete specific lessons online before they can practice the task in the lab/shop.

Enjoy your winter break, spend time with your family. Sharpen the saw!  Here is an “Excuse Grinder” you can build if you have time. The excuse grinder will save hours in your class by grinding up student excuses quickly.    http://got.im/59861

You can do all this when you have time. I can show you how to save time in your classroom and lab.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

Sonny