OTTUMWA—Brandon Brooks teaches in the same classroom he spent time in as a student.
Brooks, a metals and automotive teacher at Ottumwa High School, has been teaching for five years. He loves teaching students about his passion, metals. “I enjoy what I do,” Brooks said. “My favorite part is being able to provide an environment to teach kids how to make something,” he said. “I’ve always been the type if you can’t buy it, make it.”
He enjoys the entire design process, “creating something from raw materials.” Students start out with a simple project, building a tool box. “It’s really cool to see them work through the process.”
Brooks spent two summers as an intern at John Deere Ottumwa Works. “I can bring that experience back to the classroom.” The opportunity allowed him to see first hand what industry wants in regards to employee skills. Those experiences have a direct impact on Brooks’ instruction. This year, he used his community connections to bring more speakers into his classroom, including plumbers and sheet metal workers.
His goal is to continue to implement things that industry says students need. He also plans to stay current with technology changes. “The changes are so fast it can be challenging,” Brooks said.
He enjoys getting to know his students. “We have something in common,” he said. “it’s a good avenue to make those types of connections.”