Tomorrow’s Technician and B’laster are searching for automotive technology instructors who think outside of the toolbox with the first-ever “B’laster Instructor of the Year” program. Each month, we will share an automotive instructor’s story who is in the running to be named the B’laster Instructor of the Year winner in May 2019. Instructors can enter the B’laster Instructor of the Year program at TomorrowsTechnician.com/instructor-of-the-year.
Our first finalist shares how his students practice real-world automotive careers with a functioning shop in the classroom. Jason Anderson is a lifelong auto technician who got his start at his great grandfathers used car dealership and building hunting buggies. Since then, Anderson has been every type of technician and even a service manager. He has spent 18 years professionally turning wrenches and is now in his seventh year teaching. Anderson is also an adjunct instructor for Indian River State College. In 2016, he was named Adjunct Instructor of the Year for the adult education department at the college.
Words by Jason Anderson
I try to run my program’s shop like a dealership or professional shop. Not all students are truly interested in being technicians, but they do enjoy being in the program so I also came up with other options for them. As we all know, there are numerous careers in the automotive field where you can make a really good living. My students are able to pick their shop position.
I have one student acting as a service manager (SM) who is in charge of production and safety. He makes sure the students are on task and working responsibly in regards to safety and vehicle protection. This is just like working in an actual shop; if you make the SM mad or disrespect them, you will get the harder tickets. They will even assign certain groups to clean the shop and take out the trash.
Two of my students act as service advisors/writers (SA/SW) who are in charge of vehicle repairs, parts pricing and estimate writing. The SA/SW will call the owner and explain what is wrong and get approval if granted. The SA/SW needs to be just as knowledgeable as the students doing the repairs because they have to explain the repair to the customer. (The customer is sometimes myself, as it may be a shop vehicle.) Due to school policies, students cannot officially order the parts so I will call and handle that part. The SA/SW also issues the task sheets and station rotations.
I have one student who is the tool person, who is responsible for issuing toolboxes and specialty tools. This student is also responsible for keeping track of the tools for inventory purposes. The tool person makes sure tools are used properly and returned in the same shape as they were when checked out.
The rest of my students are technicians working in groups. As technicians, these students will get the repair orders or task sheets from the service advisors and get to work. They will get with the SA/SW and get the “concern” and then find the “cause” before coming to me for verification. When students come to me for verification, they will need to explain the whole process including how they came to that conclusion. Once I sign off, they will then go back to the SA/SW and explain the cause to the SA/SW. Once approved they will then proceed with the “correction” and have me verify it was done correctly before wheels are reinstalled (if needed), the engine is started and the vehicle is taken for test drive. All vehicles are test driven no matter what they are in for. My students also know what vehicles are in for repair every day based on a Google calendar that is shared with everyone. Using the calendar, they can wee what cars are in immediately as I put them in.
As students perform these jobs they are graded based on how successful they are. For instance, for the service advisors, I will talk to customers and ask how they did on the phone and how well they explained everything. The service manager is a little easier as I should not notice anyone unsafe or not working.
Most of my students want to do repairs and hands-on stuff. I will also circulate students through making “how to videos” that I post on YouTube. Our YouTube channel has been focused on how to use shop equipment, but I want to begin filming how to do vehicle repairs this year, as it seems very popular on You Tube and a lot of bad videos are out there.
Enter today for the B’laster Instructor of the Year program at TomorrowsTechnician.com/instructor-of-the-year.