Teachers Roll Up Sleeves And Hammer Away In Class

Sarah Pacheco
Wednesday - July 02, 2008
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Mililani High School agriculture teacher Jeffrey Yamaguchi
Mililani High School agriculture teacher Jeffrey Yamaguchi hammers out a saw horse June 27 during his Tools of the Trade “final exam.” Photo by Nathalie Walker, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

School may be out for summer, but 10 local teachers and counselors decided that now is the perfect time to learn a few new lessons. As part of the third annual Tools of the Trade internship program June 16 to 27, they gained skills and knowledge about Hawaii’s construction industry through hands-on activities and excursions.

“Teachers and counselors come to Tools of the Trade to gain practical knowledge of building and construction that they can use with their students,” said Kyle Chock, executive director of

Pacific Resource Partnership, the event’s co-sponsor.

More than 30 people from the state’s 34 DOE Construction Academy schools applied for the coveted spots by writing essays on how the experience would benefit their teaching and their students.

“We had more applicants this year than ever before, and that led to a great group of teachers who are really embracing this unique opportunity to get a firsthand, in-depth look at Hawaii’s construction industry,” Chock said. Making the cut from Central Oahu was Jeffrey Yamaguchi, a Mililani High agriculture teacher.

Yamaguchi and his colleagues donned hardhats and strapped on construction belts, working up a sweat at some of Hawaii’s busiest sites. Capping it all off was a “final exam” where they built their own projects based on insider information - such as architecture, subcontracting, bidding and estimating, sustainable development, renewable energy and high-rise condo construction.

“We’re out on job-sites almost every day. They’ve seen what goes into building everything from high-rise condominiums to renewable energy facilities to military housing, and they got to learn from the people doing it,” explained Chock, adding that some of the “amazing” projects the interns attended included Kapolei Commons regional mall, a solar farm on Lanai and the Trump Tower in Waikiki.

But the true test comes when they return to the classroom in August.

“They tell us that the program has given them new ways to make math and design relevant to students and that their students respond enthusiastically to the real-world scenarios inspired by Tools of the Trade,” Chock said.“Counselors tell us that they appreciate the deeper understanding of the building industry because it helps them give better career counseling to students.

“The teachers have been very enthusiastic about the activities we’re doing, and I think that enthusiasm for the building industry will be passed on to their students.”


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