Having taught at GCC for 32 years, welding and metallurgy instructor John Kray is satisfied with the idea of retiring given the current economic crisis.
“There is an incentive that the school district proposed last May,” Kray said. “It’s a pretty good one in this time of the economy.”
Kray started teaching part-time in 1975 and went full-time a year later. He teaches introduction to welding, general welding, occupational welding, advanced welding procedures, welding certificate shop and introduction to metals.
Even though Kray plans on taking the financial bonus offered to retirees, he’ll still be teaching at GCC.
“I’m still going to be here,” Kray said. “I’ll teach maybe a couple times a week and I’ll retire from the full-time part of it.
“I have a former student who has a pretty good welding background and she’s going to be taking over most of my classes,” he said.
Kray’s favorite aspect about teaching at GCC is the students. Kray says that he’s enjoyed meeting the diversity of students that have enrolled in his classes over the years. He recalls the number of students he’s had in his classes.
“I met a wide variety of students anywhere from 18-year-olds up to 85-year-olds that have taken my classes, so I figure somewhere between 9,000 and 10,000 students have gone through this welding program since I’ve been teaching it in the mid-70s.”
Kray said that he enjoys teaching welding and metallurgy classes, but that there is one change he would like to see be made eventually.
“What I would like to see in the future, when the new welding instructor starts teaching, is if they could someday expand the area for the shop itself,” said Kray. “It’s just that we’re a little confined up here, and even though we have pretty good size classes, everything is too close together and it needs a little more space.”
Kray described what he plans to do with his extra time.
“Family is real important to me,” Kray said. “Right now I have a daughter and two grandchildren living with me. I have a wife who is kind of ill, so I’ll be taking care of the family more. I don’t have any big future plans, I’m just going to be with the family and do what I normally do.”
Overall, the incentive offered to Kray is helpful for his future plans, and since he’ll still be teaching part-time, he’ll still be doing what he loves most.