Friday, January 22, 2016

The best $160 I never spent

One of my most dreaded fears happened again is week. The check engine light came on in my car. I always dread that little light because it costs $100 just to get it read at the autoshop. Repairs are usually several hundred dollars more.

This time I got smart. I took the car to Autozone and had them check it for free. The diagnosis was a little better than what I expected. The Mass Air Flow Sensor was faulty. The bad news was that it was still pricey at $160 and of course I had no idea what that part was, let alone whether or not I had the skill to replace it.

image from aa1car.com

I got smart again and decided to see what I could find on YouTube. I was lucky enough to find a video showing how to replace that part on my exact year, make, and model. Super easy at less than 10 minutes. So at least I wouldn't had to pay labor at the shop since I could do it myself, but still dreaded the $160 price tag.

Searching a little more and I found a video that described how to clean the sensor to where it works just like new. For the price of a can of cleaner and a new air filter ($22) the check engine light is off and my car is running smoother than it has in a long time.

I love learning! I gained the knowledge necessary to replace that part, plus learned a lesson of how important it is to maintain a clean air filter. I also learned a little more of how a car engine works. Saving money was just a side benefit. The ability to actually see how to replace the part in a video just made the whole process easier.

I had a similar experience a few years ago when I learned how to replace a part on our washing machine, saving myself the cost of a service call. This past fall I posted about my summer time experience building a dresser for my daughter, learning many things about woodworking along the way. I love learning!

I'm excited about our new teacher's contract with the district, because it encourages teachers to learn more in order to advance on the pay scale. Teachers can move up on the pay scale every few years by designing their own professional development and completing a certain number of hours learning.

As educators, it's important for us to model learning for our students. If we want our students to develop a love of learning, we need to model what a life long learner looks like. We need to show them that learning happens all the time and for a variety of reasons. I'm disappointed when I see teachers that are not involved in professional development in some format, or that attend classes for the sake of getting the credit and don't care about the content of the class. I always pray that attitude doesn't carry over into their classes.

Besides modeling learning to students, we need to be learners for the sake of the knowledge. I don't know everything and never will. But new knowledge is powerful, whether I'm learning a new skill, delving deeper into a concept, or expanding my horizons. There are so many things I want to learn about that I'm actually disappointed sometimes that I have to go to work instead of being able to use that time to complete a course or training.

How are you a life long learner? Where do you go to increase your knowledge?
  


14 comments:

  1. Greetings,

    Yes, I agree that being a lifelong learner and relaying that experience to our students and others is crucial. I can totally relate with the automotive experiences. I too remember having to do various sundry repairs, be it on EGR valves, MAF and O2 sensors, to installing stereos and the like. Back then, the name of the game was going to the library and looking over a Chilton’s manual. Nowadays, it’s so much useful info can be had through others blogs, posts and even You Tube channels. It is very satisfying to repair and earn new things, especially when it not only saves money, but shows we as life long learners can take something of value (knowledge) and apply it directly to our lives. I often relay these experiences with my own students to show them that you are never too old to learn something new. For me, my passions lie with collecting and repairing antique stereophonic equipment, so it is imperative that I seek out information across the web to find parts and or techniques on how to repair the various reel to reel decks, receivers, tube amps and turntables that I’ve collected over the years. So in summation, good on you for seeking out the answers to facilitate that repair and relaying this experience to others inspires and fosters others to continue to be life long learners themselves. Good show!

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    1. Thank you for your comment! I think that's the beauty of today's connected world and the internet in particular. The amount of knowledge that can be accessed and shared is astounding. In my mind there's really no excuse for not being able to be informed on a topic, learn a new skill, or feed your passion. And I think you hit on an important part too - the sharing aspect. It's so easy now to share what we know!

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  2. Mark, I agree with your comment that as teachers we need to be lifelong learners. The amount of information available to us, literally at our finger tips, is staggering. If you look, you can find a Youtube video on how to do so many different things. I had a similar experience recently while trying to finish my basement. I have a small bathroom downstairs that needed to have the tape and texture applied to the walls. It was such a small job that I couldn't find anyone that wanted to waste their time doing it. I was told many times that the clean up would take longer than the job. Running out of options, I took to Youtube to see if I could find out how to do it on my own. I found several videos showing step by step instructions and was able to apply the tape and texture to finish my bathroom walls myself. I felt like I had conquered the world after I finished.
    When I returned to my classroom, I bragged to my students about what I had accomplished. Many of them responded by telling me of the various things they have learned to do using Youtube. It is an amazing teaching tool!

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    1. Yes, I believe today's technology has changed the education field. No longer do we need to go to the teachers for our information and knowledge, we can find it easily and everyone is now an expert.

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  3. Oh the dreaded check engine light!! Might be the most frustrating gauge on the dashboard and it always seems to come on just before you need a smog check! Why is that? Luckily for us living in the 21st century we can look up almost anything on youtube to help us learn something new.
    In my spare time, the little I have, I enjoy playing the drums. I've been playing since my teenage years. I am self taught and never took drum lessons because it was a hobby and as long as I could play my favorite songs I was happy. Recently I have been wanting to improve my fundamentals and practice my rudiments so I've been doing online lessons where I can go at my own pace. When I have the time I can watch a lesson on a specific topic, or maybe a certain song whenever I need. This allows me to expand my playing. It's a great tool and has saved me time and gives me the convenience to practice when I have the time. One of my favorite drummers Neil Peart of Rush has said the drumming is a lifelong learning experience and I agree with that. There is always something new to learn or improve on playing the drums. I'm glad I can get online and learn something new about something I love to do!

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    1. You touched on what I believe is a major advantage to all this knowledge being online. Not only is it available to a wider audience, but its available at a time and place that's convenient for us, the learner. We don't have to attend a class at a specific time and/or location. We can access the knowledge and learning when WE want to.

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  4. You Tube can be a handy resource. I can relate to your experience of using You Tube to find out how to replace the sensor on your car. I have been totally dissatisfied with the service I have received with hairdressers. Either the hair cut is not what I requested or when I return for a trim, I receive a totally different hair cut. So, I took matters in my own hands and “You Tubed” a video on cutting a bob. I watched the video, cut my hair, and received a plethora of compliments on my hair. Now, I’m considering taking it a step further and cutting bangs, using You Tube as a resource of course.
    Although I do admire your knack for replacing items using the do-it-yourself method, but have you ever considered investing in a home warranty? For example, this past summer my air conditioner stopped working. I notified the home warranty company. They dispatched a crew to the house to diagnose the problem. I paid my $40 deductible and my air conditioner was fixed. It saved me time and was stress-free.
    I consider myself a life-long learner, so I can keep my cerebral cortex energized. Since I was kid, I dreamed of playing the electric guitar. Well my dad had other ideas—saxophone. So a few months ago, I bought an electric guitar and “Learn to Play the Guitar in 30 Days CD’s.” Now, I can play some Lynryd Skynrd. My next goal is to learn to speak Italian. I’m thinking about Rosetta Stone for that endeavor.

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    1. I had never considered in that type of home warranty. I'll have to check that out! I had something similar for our van and it literally saved me hundreds of dollars on repairs I couldn't do.

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  5. I am truly feeling like a lifelong learner by teaching my students how to blog. I thought for sure that they would be teaching this technology to me but none of my students had done one before so we are learning together. Today I had them create paper blogs and I got so excited and I know they sensed my excitement because they didn't complain and they were asking me questions and being creative with decorating their blog. I was very upfront with them and told them how I want to learn new ways to help them become better writers. They know I'm not much of a tech person which they already knew because I still use an overhead projector! Ha! On another note, I was recently having problems with my hot water heater and couldn't get hot water. The plumber I had been dealing with wouldn't let me to talk with the repairman and I was incredibly frustrated. My youngest son is an electrician and also has his contractor's license so I called him up and he had me take pictures and Goggled them for me and together we fixed it. Wahoo Google! I was so proud of myself and thrilled with hot water!

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  6. As teachers, we are lifelong learners. In order to be an effective teacher,I feel you must have an enjoyment for continuous learning. The car and washing machine examples relate to me very well.I like to find ways of fixing things myself before spending money.I can contribute my desire for that from accomplishing things while enjoying it through learning. I also save money too.
    By sharing real-life problem-solving experiences through blogs to our students, it will give them the opportunity to expand their thought process and be more effective problem solvers. I'm really starting to discover more benefits through blogging. That's really cool!

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  7. As a sub teacher for almsot 20 years i always believe that i am a learner first and a teacher next. What i learn in life i am able to pass down to my children and students. Being knowledgeable saved me $3,000 when i went to take my car in because my check engine light was on and they told me i need to replace almost the whole thing. I learned to always go for a second option and they told me it was just my gas lid not fully turned and locked. that saved me my childs college tuition money. I told this story to my students and they learned that its okay to ask questions. After telling this story i had a student tell me that because of me she saved $1,000 just by asking and getting another option. we learn through other peoples success as well as failure.

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  8. I agree wholeheartedly with your post. I believe that everyone no matter what field they work in should be a lifelong learner. As a teacher of 22 years experience, I enjoy taking professional development classes to help me expand and polish my teaching skills. I increase my knowledge of all aspects of my life by watching, listening, and questioning my experiences I have. Now this could be watching You-Tube videos to change my brakes, to asking a handyman to explain how to change my water softener filter, or reading about plants that work best in dry climate and planting them in my yard. Being a life longer learner does not mean taking a college class. We are lifelong learners because have interests and we thrive for knowledge.

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    1. Exactly! Learning can take many different forms. As educators I think its imperative that we model life-long learning for our students too. There is so much out there to learn and learning can be fun!

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  9. Your experience made me think of what happened to me when the check tire light came on in the Juke. I found the closest convenience store, and put air in the tires. I started the car; the check tire light still came on! I then had to find the closest open tire store. After spending thirty minutes waiting, the mechanic informed me that the spare needed air. I think of how much time I could have saved if I checked the internet. Next time I have a minor repair, I plan to see if You-Tube has a video to help. I sometimes forget how helpful technology can be.

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