Since last year, teachers and students have been waiting to get back to school to see their peers. Chris Bazzinotti, the Automotive instructor at Malden High School for twenty seven years, is just one of the teachers that are “extremely excited for the opportunity to [return] back to school” in hopes of teaching his students like he is used to. Unfortunately, it might be a while until we return to a complete normal, but we are getting there, slowly but surely.
Bazzinotti explained that the Auto shop was “never really” taken out but rather it was put on pause because of COVID-19. Auto shop requires hands on activities which were not feasible during the pandemic, but it is finally looking up again. The class was able to start doing virtual repairs from home. People would fill out a work order with what their complaint was. Within the classroom they would have to try to ”dissect the problem” by researching information. Their goal was to uncover answers to their customers' issues within their cars. However, this was easier to do in an actual classroom with all the students being able to actually repair the car and service the customers needs..
When a group of students do this, there is usually a consensus of what they think. If everyone in the room, or almost everyone, has the same conclusion, this means they are close to figuring out what is wrong with the car. Following this, the class will put together an estimate of how much it should cost as well as giving helpful feedback. Bazzinotti sees this as a way to “help give kids real-world experience." Bazzinotti, however, understands how hard it can be to fix cars online. For a while they were not repairing any cars at all and this resulted in his students being extremely bored. His class has always been a favorite that many students were interested in joining.
For Bazzinotti and his students, it is a “different type of education when it is hands on.” He wants to “teach kids about their own vehicles” and how to save money if there is ever an issue with their car. He does not want his students to be “afraid” to look at their own car and be completely lost on what to do. As Bazzinotti said “you do not need to be a mechanic to open the hood of the car.” His main goal is to “set a foundation” for his class to make good career choices and inform them on things they will need to know in the future. It is all about setting the kids up for success and making sure they persevere.
Bazzinotti mentioned how Malden High School used to have other shops such as Woodshop and a Printing Shop. Auto shop has actually been at Malden High for around forty to fifty years. Currently, Bazzinotti is the only teacher for the class but he said that there used to be four shop teachers.
Bazzinotti knew he always wanted to work with his hands since he was as young as 10. He mentioned he always knew he “wanted to do something with wood.” This included cutting and hammering nails, and building anything out of wood. He eventually took the Automotive turn when he furthered his talent.
Bazzinotti’s dad was someone who encouraged him to go in for teaching which included taking the teacher training test. Bazzinotti never saw himself being a teacher before but the more people who suggested it, he began to think about it. Before becoming a teacher, he was a master technician for fifteen years. Although Malden was not his “top choice” they were looking for an Automotive Technician. This was a “great opportunity” for him and he would not pass it up.
Since then he has “never looked back” and Malden High School has become an “amazing second home” for him. He is very proud to be where he is today. He agrees that the staff are all great and hard workers.
Fun fact, Bazzinotti’s oldest student is forty-four years old whom he got a job for at a car dealership. He moved ”right up the ladder pretty quick.” After some time, he told Bazzinotti he wanted to attempt to sell cars. Bazzinotti introduced him to the owner of the Chevrolet dealership. Long story short, he is now General Manager of Mercedes Acura Mini Cooper Dealership. In High School, Bazzinotti described him as a “polite and nice” young man who pushed through many recurring struggles he faced. For Bazzinotti this is just “one of the great stories.”
One of Bazzinotti’s favorite parts of his job is getting to see all his past students come back and tell him about their life and their career. He “loves” seeing how he helped “impact” their lives and helped give them the life skills they have now. He always treats his students professionally as if they are at work. This gets kids in the hang of things and teaches them how to act in a real work environment.
Bazzinotti claims that “it is one thing if [he teaches his students] something but another thing if [they] learn something.” He loves to see all his students grow up and become successful. His class does not just fix cars; they also perform engineering and robotics. He finds it amazing how quick his students can fix something and how they easily adapt to the class.
Senior Amar Kumar has taken this class since freshman year and has learned many “life skills.” His favorite part of the class is getting to work on the cars because he gets to learn “a lifelong skill” and it will help him in the future. He stated that Bazzinotti is one of his “favorite teachers” in the entire building. He is more than delighted to be an ongoing participant in the class.