It is teacher appreciation week and a time to reflect on the teachers that have made a difference in so many lives – including my own. First I have to thank my 7th grade math teacher, Sister Mary, who was the best math teacher I ever had. Sister Mary was all about strengthening basic math skills in everything you do. I used to talk in class, instead of the usual “I will not talk in class” 500 times. Sister Mary had you take a 4 digit number and multiple it by itself and then subtract that number until you got down to zero. Funny as your basic math gets stronger so does the algebra – but Sister Mary knew that.
Then there was Mr. Bobrick – AP Physics, dedicated, energetic, and tough. I can still recall taking my first Physics exam and getting a 73. I thought my world was over. He said it was the highest grade in the class and there is no curve or partial credit in life – so get over it.
Teachers can become life-long mentors, my thesis advisor, Joe Rencis, helped me through Finite Element theory as I was trying to work full time and get my masters degree. Joe was there when I made the decision to leave industry and go into academia and then to leave academia and come to SolidWorks. 20 years later, I can still rely on Joe for advice.
I also have to thank the teachers and professors that I am in contact with around the world. Their dedication to their students and learning our software tools has resulted in a shift in education to the educator taking on the role as “coach” and their students designing amazing products with SolidWorks that have purpose.
As a teacher, you always think about your students. This year, two students stand out for me. First David Bazinet was an engineering design student in one of my first classes at Mass Bay College. I learned a great deal from David because he was a machinist. I lost track of David, but this year at SolidWorks World, I heard him shout my name. David is now a design engineer at SolidWorks customer Lista International. He made his professor proud.
The second student is Bertrand Sicot. Bertrand is studying for his CSWP exam and I am fortunate to have him as my student. I have never taught anyone so motivated to learn and so quick to pick up the smallest details. I created what I thought was three weeks worth of lessons – only for him to go through it in 3 days. Initially, I thought his goal to pass the CSWP exam by SolidWorks World 2012 was unrealistic but that is not the case. He has been a role model of dedication – studying on the train, webinars when he is somewhere else in the world. The lessons do not stop and of course he treats every problem with a little humor that makes teaching fun!