Less About Cars, More About Bodine

April 27, 2009
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Of all the classes I took, Auto 1 was the one I dreaded. All my other classes were academically rigorous; lectures about motor vehicles were well below my standards. But, rapidly, my attention heightened and my interest piqued. Alternators, radiators, flywheels, the venturri effect, fuel-to-gas ratios – all of what I’ve learned is forever lodged deep inside my mind, ready to be recalled when a situation might present itself. I have Mr. Jerry Bodine to thank for that.

From day one and onward, he stood in front of a class full of delinquents and class clowns, boys who took the class for an easy “A,” and girls that signed up for the course as a last resort. Every day his third hour was filled with lewd remarks, crude comments, and blatant insults. Yet every third hour, he would pass out a self-made packet with fill-in-the-blanks, show a simplistic PowerPoint, and instruct us on the importance of the car part he chose to talk about. Slowly, the class warmed up to him; however, by no means did they relinquish their childish antics or suggestive banter.

Every day he had some form of visual effect, whether it be a massive tire recycled by Nascar© or a rusting spark plug. Some days he had a display the class could participate in, like a makeshift car battery and electric wiring to demonstrate the usage of watts and volts.

As the semester wore on, Mr. Bodine continued to expound on the use, maintenance, and operation of motor vehicles, while being incredibly enthused. He held such a strong interest toward cars, it was a wonder he didn’t become a mechanic rather than a high school teacher. As my mind clambered around the thought, the man that stood in front of my third hour grew to be an inspiration. This man – a genius in this area, a kind individual to any student needing support, and a content human – continued to deal with the rude, unappreciative behavior of his students. Simply for the satisfaction of sharing his interests and watching the few students that truly took the class to heart grow.

Auto 1 is a vocational course, meaning, with the exception of those very few who strive to be mechanics, it is basically a class for the students in danger of flunking, dropping out, or ignoring any chance of a future. To teach a class full of students like those is a feat in and of itself. Every day Mr. Bodine set himself up for drastic disappointment, either given by his job, his students, or his teaching environment. But every day he stood calmly before the class, smiling with a friendly air about him and speaking passionately about something he truly enjoyed.

Mr. Bodine is a walking, talking, breathing life lesson to be observed, to be learned. In addition to the incomparable information I learned about motor vehicles, I gleaned that a little disappointment is okay. It is essential to becoming more influential and significant. The hunger to be important or great is insatiable without humility or self-respect. Though Mr. Bodine may not be great or important to a copious amount, he has refined dignity and a powerful sense of self. Each day he gives disappointment the opportunity to storm into his life, and each day he walks away with a sense of contentment. If I were to give my respect and untainted thankfulness to any teacher I have ever come in contact with, it would be him. Frankly because he does what he loves, accepts what he is given, and he constantly puts himself on the line. Irregardless, he is happy.





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