Friday, February 13, 2009

Breath deep...... smell that?


'That' is my dinner, which I shall speak of in a moment.

Todays competition went like clockwork.

The student competitors advanced through all seven testing stations without problem and every contestant sweated every stage. To a person, they all said it was tough... and thats the way a competition ought to be.

In the end, a clear winner and no doubts as to why in the other competito
rs minds. The test stations revealed their knowledge and their skills, to us and to themselves.

If only... if only I could have talked some of our students into competing. Half of my class could have cleaned up at a competition like this. The young men there today may not have been the best the other schools had to offer, but it's the ones they sent, and my students could have bested them.

Thoughts and comments from those involved:
  • "This is frightening" from the brake station judge. Not one competitor could correctly install simple drum brakes. We gave them 15 minutes to perform the task, while the student from my class assigned to reset the station.... did it in 2-3 minutes, correctly. He's not an ace student either... just average.
  • "Wow.... Just wow..." From the precision measuring station judge. He has 14 years experience as a machinist, and is now a registered nurse. Only one competitor in ten even knew what 'taper' and 'out of round' meant when measuring bearing journals. Many of the competitors used a brake rotor mic on the step bar, and tried to make a 2-3 inch mic measure a 3.8" journal.
  • "That one in the green shirt has a clue...." About one of the competitors, and spoken by a judge. The young man won the contest, with a score at least 100 points better than second place. Well done!!
It was a smooth day, and not one complaint from anyone involved. The students worked hard at their contest, the judges kept it fair and on task, and our program came away with an image boost as well. My students who helped out... said what they always do. "I wish I had entered... I could have kicked their butts easy!" We try and try to get them to enter, but so few do. As one of them said: "I didn't think I was that smart, but we know way more than these guys".

One thing I came away with personally... Today validated what we do in our class. I got a close look at the product of other programs today, and I feel really really good about my boys right now.

Oh... that smell? Sage sausage cooking in a fry pan in the oven. After it's done, I'll break it up and pour corn bread batter over it, along with a handful of shredded cheddar cheese and some herbs. Sausage and corn bread casserole.... MAN food!


Old NFO said...

Glad it went well. Now maybe you can use that to pump up your students! Congrats.

Earl said...

I have often wondered what makes some students feel they aren't the best and can't pass the test, I once trained folks by little victories, setting higher goals and faster times, and trying to link the training so nothing gets forgotten, still there would be a few that thought they weren't ready - and others that thought nothing could stand against their best efforts. It is like magic when it works, sounds like you have a great program.