Springfield-Clark County Career Technology Center teacher Eric Barge got into teaching to coach.
“I thought it was going to be an easy thing and boy was I wrong,” Barge said.
Barge is an engineering and architecture teacher at CTC and was selected for the Springfield Rotary Club’s annual Excellence in Teaching Awards. He will be honored by the group on Monday, March 19. The Springfield News-Sun is a sponsor of the award.
He left behind an engineering career to coach football, he said, but instead found a passion in the classroom. He said the best part of his job is working with the students.
“They teach you new stuff every day,” he said.
The classes he teaches are challenging, Barge said, but also can be rewarding.
“We do a lot of blueprint and design,” he said. ” We are taking mechanical concepts that you have in the real world and putting them into the computer and making blueprints for manufacturers to actually make those things. We take their designs and we bring them to life.”
For instance, the class recently made a prosthetic hand test model and uses a 3D printer to create other things like helmets.
“If this was me in high school, I would like to have had a program that was like this,” Barge said. “This was a program that I needed for myself.”
Barge is a great teacher, CTC Executive Director Chris James said.
“He is phenomenal,” James said. “He is a teacher that has mastered meeting every kid at their level. When I do observations in his classroom he knows kids that need more help and has already made plans ahead of time to take care of them.”
He also uses technology well, James said, and class lectures and notes can be found online to help students understand concepts better.
“He gets to know the student well enough to know their learning styles,” James said. “He realizes how to best reach each student and that is so crucial. He has such a great personality and it’s easy for him to build that relationship.”
He’s had some great former students and he misses them, Barge said.
“I wish I could have them all back,” he said.