Tony Bertolino Teaches Commercial Plumbing in Norfolk
I teach Commercial Plumbing in Norfolk. Here is how my first day went this fall. “Are you the teacher?” asks student. “Yes I am.” I answer awaiting the inevitable response I hear year after year. “Your way to young to be the teacher! there’s no way. Who’s the real teacher.” replies the student. “Why would I be in this plumbing class when I carry this in my wallet?” I exclaim as I produce my masters license.
It begins, the first days of my new group of 3rd year plumbing students. These first few days will consist of question after question. As my plumbing students test my knowledge and validate my skill set as their new teacher. A challenge I look forward to and know I will complete, by simply answering a question with a question. “In your opinion what does it mean to be a plumber?” I typically get responses such as, “We get rid of waste.” or “we get houses drinking water”. When the shouting out of answers stops and the room goes silent I give my opinion of what it is to be a Plumber. “Are you aware that your trade is responsible for doubling the lives of Europeans and Americans? The sanitation revolution is what caused modern plumbing to be voted the greatest medical advancement since 1840, surpassing the invention of antibiotics and vaccinations. To me the answer to this question is simple. To be a plumber means supporting the health care of this nation as it’s foundation, because without us the health of society would begin to fail.
Time and time before I am met with looks of amazement. The eyes of my students reflect an idea that what they do is considerable more important than they have ever thought. I always smile with pride knowing that an idea has been born in everyone on this first night of class and the wheels have begun to turn. As the end of class nears I give one last message to my plumbers who have now spent 3 hours with their new teacher.
Remember this and take it with you. You’re all plumbers even though you will never be recognized for it. Take pride in knowing that everyone is better off not knowing what you’ve done than knowing that you’ve never done it.
Commercial Plumbing Norfolk: Taught by Tony Bertolino of Bertolino Plumbers