GMTCC teacher delivers real-life lessons - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

GMTCC teacher delivers real-life lessons


It's another busy day in the shop for Roscoe Allen.

"It's awesome. It's awesome," Allen said.

But the workers aren't his employees, they're his students.

"They want to be here and they show an interest in it," Allen said.

"I couldn't have asked for a better teacher," said Adam Badger, a junior.

Badger became a student at Green Mountain Technology and Career Center in Hyde Park this year.

"I was struggling back at my old high school, People's Academy," he said.

But the motor sports program has him looking forward to going to school every day.

"I've heard people say, aw, is it going to be a snow day today? And I'm like, it better not be; I want to go to school and I want to-- I got to finish that snowmobile," Badger said.

Kids spend about 30 percent of the school day in a traditional classroom and 70 percent in the shop. The snowmobiles, ATVs and motorcycles belong to real clients and have real problems for students to solve.

"At first I was-- what am I doing? What am I thinking?" Allen said.

Teaching is a new role for Allen. He spent his career working on cars and bikes, leaving Harley-Davidson last year.

Reporter Kristin Kelly: You never set out to be a teacher?

Roscoe Allen: Absolutely not. I'm a tech. I'm a technician. I'm good at what I do and this is just another level of it.

It's street cred that registers with these kids.

"Him working for Harley-Davidson, he obviously knows a lot," Badger said.

"He got his stuff down," said Hunter Bourdeau, a senior. "The real deal."

"He knows what an employer needs, he knows what a business needs and when he tells kids that, they listen," said Joe Teegarden, the director of the Green Mountain Technology and Career Center. "And maybe the fact that he's got the ponytail, the tattoos I suppose, I don't know, that might be something."

Hunter Bourdeau is restoring a 1979 Polaris TXL 340 snowmobile.

"It will be pretty sweet," Bourdeau said. "Everything's going to work. I know it will."

Kristin Kelly: You're pretty confident.

Hunter Bourdeau: Oh yeah, I have to be.

Confidence he picked up here. He says Allen's quiet encouragement helps him learn.

"He pushes us. He pushes us to get the job done every time," Bourdeau said. "He teaches us to learn from our mistakes."

"It's just kind of tailoring it to each kid to what they can learn," Allen said.

The real world experience helps, but so does his own life story. About 20 years ago Allen was exactly where these kids are now-- a student at this tech school trying to find his own way. His old teacher recruited him to come back.

"You can be successful at whatever you do, just how much time you want to put into it. I never thought being at the tech center would get me back here 20 years later. "They can see there's options."

And he's learning there are options, too. A technician teaching life lessons now picking up some from his students.

"I'm still learning, though. This is huge for me," Allen laughed.

Allen is working toward getting his teaching license through a special mentoring program at Vermont Technical College for tech school educators.

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