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Staying Steadfast as a Skilled Trades Teacher


Staying Steadfast as a Skilled Trades Teacher

Dear Fellow Skilled Trades Teachers:

My name is Kathy Worley and I teach a Manufacturing Engineering Pathway, a Guitar Construction course, and Woodshop at West Hills High School in San Diego County, California.

Steadfastness: “the quality of resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.”  I believe all skilled trades teachers have the quality of steadfastness (and much more!).  As you work with your students, teaching, encouraging, exhorting, etc. you show this quality every day and every minute.  You persevere through budget shortfalls, apathy for the trades, and now a worldwide pandemic.

I like to believe the quality of steadfastness (what I have of it) helped me in continuing to apply for the Harbor Freight Tools for School Prize for Teaching Excellence.  I applied in 2017, again in 2018, again in 2019 (where I was a finalist) and was finally named a Grand Prize Winner in 2020!


After the first year, I thought I would never win.  In reality, I won each year.  Working through the readings and videos energized my teaching and planning.  Those activities required me to look at my teaching methods in all of the courses.


Teaching year after year can leave you in a rut. Each year you might change a little in curriculum, but you have everything in order.  Applying for the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence requires you to really think about your profession and your teaching methods.  Before the pandemic and now during the pandemic, the essays are so helpful in making you look within and find or re-discover your passion.

As you work through the essays, remember that your ultimate reward are the intrinsic rewards.  Yes, the money is great!  But, when you are able to reach and teach one more student and give them a career through your program – that makes you the true Grand Prize Winner.

Stay steadfast and write about your passion, your students and your program.

You can start or continue your application at Applications are due May 21, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific time.


Best regards,

Kathy Worley

Industrial Technology Teacher

Woodland Hills High School