I have a boy named Garrett Gregory in my FACS Exploration sewing class. Garrett has been coming to my class regularly, but having a hard time being motivated to learn. He was hesitant about the subject and thought he was too cool to learn how to sew. I talked with Garrett about his ideas and about what he could make in the class. I told him to come up with something that would be interesting to him. He thought about it and asked, “Could I put a printed pocket on a T-shirt.” This is a popular T-shirt style boys are wearing. As Garrett pondered further, he came up with the idea to make these T-shirts and sell them as a business. He is so excited about this idea right now that he is spending every spare moment in my classroom working on his T-shirts. Needless to say, in the process he is gaining so many skills.
“When I started taking this class I didn’t really like the idea because I thought it was a girly class. I liked to sew, but I was sure that it was for girls. . . Then I was trying to think of an idea of what I could do for a project, and I found out that I could make some money by selling these cool shirts to my friends. Then, I got really excited about coming to class so I could get the shirts done,” says Garrett.
Garrett is so excited about his sewing project that he is calling it “his own business.” All of the students in class are talking about Garrett’s project and he has a little group of followers who are helping him and getting excited about the T-shirts he is making. They think it is the coolest thing they have ever seen. Seth Johnson is one of Garrett’s “followers” and is also his assistant. This could very easily be a starting point for Garrett in his lifetime pursuits.
Seth Johnson and Garrett Gregory
wearing the T-shirts Garrett designed.
This has been such an amazing turnaround for Garrett! The central focus of Career and Technical Education (CTE) is to PREPARE STUDENTS FOR CAREERS. Garrett’s experience in this FACS Exploration sewing class has turned into a real-life experience for him, and this is the central purpose of CTE! It has been so awesome to watch wheels turn in Garrett’s mind as he came up with this idea. When he found a way that he could incorporate the “American Dream” in his 8th grade class, he learned real-life skills. Watching Garrett’s motivation shift as he discovered a way to make this subject meaningful to him is exactly what CTE is about. These hands-on experiences are irreplaceable and of utmost importance to our students. This is how our students turn the confusing information that is being thrown at them into reality. Garrett’s example is just one of the many, many CTE success stories I have seen throughout my teaching career.