Fall 2010 |
Automotive Technology Instructor
Who: Darrell Bush
Academic Program: Automotive Technology Career Academy
Classes Taught: Automotive fundamentals with high school
juniors and seniors
Class Mascot: The American Buffalo, chosen for its
adaptability and flexibility
Classroom Philosophy: "I'd rather do 12 tasks well
than 40 poorly." "A skill is mastered before moving on."
By Demanding Excellence, Instructor Molds Successful Young
Darrell Bush's classroom rules are straightforward. Focus on your work. Be
courteous. Show respect. And don't be late—ten seconds tardy and
consider yourself absent.
For the past six years, Bush has worked with high school juniors and
seniors in MCC's Automotive Technology Career Academy program in which
students split their days between their high school and an MCC location. The
program prepares students to become future automotive technicians at
dealerships and shops in Nebraska. Bush's role as their instructor, he says,
is part leader, part mentor, part father figure, part technical expert.
Reflecting on his 30 years as an MCC teacher, he has countless success
"In 30 years, I've got it down to a science," says Bush on his classroom
approach, which involves 90 percent hands-on laboratory work in addition to
emphasis on soft skills like dependability, teamwork, self-confidence and
Bush never thought he would become a teacher when a friend recommended him
for a part-time instructor job in 1979. Now 64, he says he still has more
years in him before retiring. He likes helping young people grow and improve
their lives. He enjoys seeing them succeed.
Bush demands a lot from his students. As he helps them become technicians,
he hopes he is also helping them bridge the gap from adolescence to
adulthood. "I make learning fun. But they also know there's responsibility."
By the end of their two years with Bush, the students have logged countless
hours of classroom experience, a nine-month part-time internship at a local
dealership and a summer practicum. As they progress, Bush shifts his role from
being a disciplinarian and a teacher to a mentor and a fellow
technician—and finally, a friend.
Darrell's Auto Tips:
- Taking care of your car in today's world
can be compared to previous generations taking care of their
horses. Don't expect it to live very long when you beat it to
- Pay attention to the little things about
your car. It is telling you how it feels. Turn off the radio
once in awhile and listen.
- Performing proper maintenance will help
maintain your vehicle's resale value as well as keep your car
running properly. Regular maintenance is typically cheaper
than making car payments.
- Keep your car cleaned inside and out! The
quality of the work performed by a technician is directly
related to the cleanliness of your car.
- Know the basics of car care and
ask lots of questions. Unqualified
technicians do not like to explain because they do not
understand the problems or solutions.