It may have been the 11 young welders competing at the AWS/SkillsUSA U.S. Invitational Weld Trials at FABTECH® 2012 in Las Vegas who were in the limelight, but behind each of those students was a teacher who helped them get to that point.
Six of those 11 welders were vying for three spots to continue their journey to represent the U.S. at the 42nd WorldSkills competition in Leipzig, Germany, next summer. The other five were international students who came simply to compete.
Michael Miller, a competitor from Metropolitan Community College, Omaha, Neb., had a mix of nerves and excitement leading up to the competition.
“I’m excited because I’m in the top six and just getting here is unbelievable,” Miller said. “Once we’re here the nerves start kicking in because the projects are so difficult. It’s neat to be here. I’m excited and nervous at the same time.”
Miller spent countless hours honing his craft and becoming more proficient in GTAW, which was something he said he put a lot of effort towards, and he did it all with instructor Chris Beaty. What many people don’t realize is the SkillsUSA process is an intense commitment that must be made by both student and teacher.
“It’s a huge process, one that I have to commit to as well. I have spent many late nights in the weld lab,” explained Beaty. “I teach both full time and part time at the college because we have such an influx of students coming in. Just to get all the parts cut for the projects takes a lot of hours. It’s been quite an experience, and I never expected to be this far.”
A good welder is the product of a good welding instructor. Many of you reminded me of this last year when we asked you to nominate outstanding teachers for our inaugural PWTeacher of the Year Award. It is now time to start thinking about the 2013 PWTeacher of the Year, and again, we need your help.
If you know an outstanding weld instructor who you feel is deserving of this award, please send a paragraph with information about whom you’re nominating, including name, position at school or technical training center, years of service, and why you think he or she deserves the nomination. As you contemplate what to write, think about how the person you are nominating has contributed to the school and the education of its welders. Has enrollment increased as a result of this teacher’s presence? Is the teacher active in the community and doing things to advance the welding industry within the community? Does he or she possess creative or innovative teaching methods? Or maybe you know of someone like Beaty who routinely spends long hours and weekends in the weld lab with students to help them reach goals.
Please e-mail your nominations to email@example.com or fax them to 815-484-7788. The deadline to submit nominations is April 1. I look forward to hearing from even more of you this year!