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Every year I get asked the same question, “Why can’t I just challenge the course?”
Here is their rationale:
- I can go online and get all the information I need to learn the topic.
- School is a waste of time and I would rather be working and making money.
- I learn better on my own.
Those points may have some merit but I still am a firm believer in school. Sure I’m a teacher, and yes this is my livelihood but it goes beyond that.
In this article I want to give my 5 reasons as to why I think school is an important part of the trades:
1. You may be able to get all the information online but does that mean you’re going to understand it? Why do you think that us instructors get paid the big bucks? It is not only our job to give you the information, it is also our job to help you understand it.
It is usually at this point that I get the “Some instructors are terrible teachers” argument. Unfortunately, this is correct. It seems that for every good teacher there is a bad one. That is my next point.
2. Being part of a class means you have other students at your disposal. You may have a terrible instructor, or you may just have a hard time understanding a concept the instructor is trying to convey. Why not ask your fellow students? There is bound to be a couple who understand it and can teach it in a way you can understand.
3. Lab time is invaluable. It is all great to learn the theory of how something is supposed to work, it is another to actually get your hands on it and make it work.
I have seen students who have struggled with the concepts of three-way switches in theory suddenly become switching Jedi’s once they have gotten their hands on them in the lab. Some people are auditory learners (learn by hearing) but most of us are kinesthetic (hands on) and visual learners. The lab is a great time to take theories and make them practical.
4. School is a great place to meet people. It’s an old cliche but it’s true. It is all who you know. I have seen students go on to have great friendships that have continued on for years. Not only are lasting friendships made but you have a great network to draw from in the future. Need a job? Need advice? Have a question about a problem in school? These people can help.
5. Depending on where you live, challenging school may not even be an option. It really depends on the requirements of your state or province in this regards.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is …
To be honest, yeah I’m sure you could go online and learn everything you need to pass the test. That being said, you may find it a lot harder than you would if you had just gone to school.
Take the time and go to school. I promise you that it is worth it. If you need a hand then shoot me an email here at the electric Academy. Remember that this site is here to help and it is my mission to be a resource for apprentices.
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