Before I started teaching some 6 years ago, I felt very confident about my ability to diagnose some very difficult to find issues in the engine control system. As an instructor, one of my main concerns was how to keep that edge and stay relevant in the automotive industry. I figured that I had five years before I really struggled. As an instructor in a NATEF certified AYES High School program, I had many options for training from many manufacturers and vendors, but none was as exciting and in-depth as what I had received as a technician from the manufacturers.
As an instructor, I had attended many seminars and classes, and had heard about the NACAT conferences, but because of scheduling conflicts, had not been able to attend them. I finally found that in 2010, AYES and NACAT were planning to collaborate, and this was a chance to see what NACAT had to offer. I was looking forward to some new energy and focus to help me with a new class I would be teaching for advanced students. I was not to be disappointed.
When I arrived, I felt immediately welcome. I met new friends and saw some old ones. I definitely felt that most of the people in attendance were great friends and had even brought their wives with them. I found that surprising at first, but very quickly found myself wishing I would have brought my better half as well. In fact, the schedule was designed with wives in mind.
When I started attending the training, I was instantly impressed with the presenters. The quality of instruction at each of the seminars was better than I had received for quite some time. I felt that each of the instructors was obviously knowledgeable, and the energy they brought was contagious. I grew more and more excited as each class happened. I found that I was eager to get started planning for the next year of classes. I had some new resources to help me with my content, and I had also made contact with some new people who I felt were some of the best in the industry. I was excited to be back in the classroom with a new class ready to start with some new ideas and direction.
The trade show was a great addition to the seminars. Many of the booths were extensions of the seminars, with books and training aides that were obviously well thought out and useful for students. This gave me an opportunity to get to know the presenters even better and get my hands on some of the resources that were available. I enjoyed seeing what others had come up with to successfully teach some of the technology of today's vehicles. I left the trade show with an armful of resources to help keep me excited about new student opportunities.
The conference was exciting in a way that I hadn't experienced in quite some time. I felt re-energized and ready to go back to work. I felt very good about still being on the cutting edge of technology and teaching it. I felt this was one of the best investments I had made in time and money in regards to training and getting the excitement back about teaching. I definitely will do this again next year, only next time I will be sure to bring my wife as well. I would highly recommend the NACAT conference to every automotive instructor for the seminars, relationship, resources, not to mention the fun, friends and family.
Clark County Skills Center