Think Like a Technician


By Owen Zamecnik and Liam Meechan |

If you have ever taken a Tech class you know Mr. Cole,  head of The Morgan School tech department. Mr. Cole teaches a variety of classes that help students to build skills applicable to the real world, classes such as; creative woodworking, marine construction, and of course all levels of automotive. Mr. Cole’s philosophy is  to prepare students for the real world. “Think like a technician” he always says! He has been teaching these classes for close to 30 years.

One class that Mr. Cole taught for years is Tech Math.  Each year, students plan and build a shed for a member of the community. Unfortunately, this class will not be running this year. When we asked why, he told us that the required number of students who signed up for this year’s tech math course was not met so the class could not be offered.  As one of the few students who did sign up, I’m upset that the course will not be taking place this year. Instead I’m writing this article in Journalism.

Next year, Mr Cole hopes Tech Math will be re-offered.  Tech math is the ideal course for those students that enjoy hands on work. This course teaches applications of construction engineering, career awareness, planning and design, work place skills, carpentry, applications of architecture and engineering.  Students learn how to work safely as a group and how to solve real world problems. Students also learn environmental impacts of construction and engineering, economy and society, self promotion of abilities related to this field, confidence and consumer skills. The students demonstrate their learning of these skills by creating blue prints and building a shed for a faculty member.

When the new Morgan School is built Mr. Cole’s new shop has its advantages and of course its disadvantages. Although the planning is still in the works, the current plan is to downsize because when the current Morgan school was built, it was for Clinton and Killingworth students. Since the number of students in each class has reduced significantly, there is no real need for the excess space. The shops at the new school will most likely be converted into one general shop that contains automotives as well as the wood shop. Although this makes it easier to run classes in one area, it also means the square footage for work space is greatly reduced, making working in class more difficult. Also large equipment such as the vehicle lift will be lost. When we asked Mr. Cole what would happen with the shop equipment, he told us that the newer/still useable equipment will be transported to the new school. Outdated equipment will be replaced with updated equipment, and  the old equipment will most likely either be sold off or scrapped to help fund the new shop.

Mr. Cole’s  favorite part about teaching has been working with the students and helping them achieve their goals. He enjoys seeing projects come together from the plans in the beginning because it captures the ability and potential of the students, which in many cases they didn’t even know they have. We also asked him which class he enjoys teaching the most. He said “All the classes I teach are of personal interest. I cannot pick a favorite.” So we asked about his favorite project. He said his favorite project has been taking part in Toys for Tots. He enjoys crafting handmade, natural wood toys to give to children who need them. Students learn workplace skills for an assembly line for mass production because they design and plan the toy themselves. He also gets much enjoyment of doing the annual school car show, which is planned and run by the automotive students of The Morgan School.

In these technical classes, students explore their areas of interest to help make decisions about their future. In general, Mr. Cole’s classes help students explore career possibilities, employment skills, and post secondary education options.