SirPatrick, 37, from Houston, Texas, is a welding instructor at Tulsa Welding School & Technology Center in Houston. With 14 years in the welding field, he joined the TWS family in August 2018.
Thanks for your time, SirPatrick. Before we start, please tell us about your unusual name.
It was actually the name given to me by my mother when I was born. Her name was Patsy. She wanted her last child to have her name, but I came out being a boy. So my brother encouraged her to put Sir at the beginning of it, so growing up, when people would call my name I’d always be honored with some form of respect without them knowing! .
That’s cool! How long have you been welding?
I started welding in 2004. I went to college in Brenham, Texas, and received my technical certificates in 2007.
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Tell us a little about your career before teaching.
Out in the field, I did mainly structural welding, but I also worked a lot in fabrication shops. I’ve had the opportunity to weld and build a lot of different things and put my stamp on them. I’ve used shielded metal arc welding (stick). I’ve used flux core and MIG. The only process I didn’t use as often was TIG.
Why did you decide to go into teaching at 36?
Throughout my years of welding, I’ve also had the experience of orating to groups—speaking publicly to a lot of people—and mentoring youth. I seem to have a knack of being able to direct and relate to other people and their needs. I always found my gift was helping people out. So when I was rewarded with this opportunity, I jumped on it. I thought I could combine the two things I’m good at.
What classes do you teach?
Currently, I teach 101, Intro to Welding, which is stick, and 105, which is flux core and MIG. I teach the afternoon and evening classes.
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
Getting the opportunity to communicate with a lot of different individuals and learning their perspective. I enjoy feeding off the information given to me and molding it into a lesson that I can teach from. I’m learning from them as they learn from me. Our duty as instructors is to give our students our knowledge from our time in the industry, out in the field.
I also enjoy helping students mold their minds and their skills. When they leave this place, they can retain a good job with a good, sturdy income. They have the skills and knowledge to enjoy a career that can carry them and their families through the rest of their lives. It’s a blessing and a relief to know that I have a hand in helping people become great assets in this field.
Do you see teaching now as a long-term thing?
I would like to do this until I retire, or until I get promoted to a higher position in the education field!
As a boy, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A doctor. It was around high school that I realized I was very good with my hands. I came from a middle-class family. Financially, we weren’t stable enough for medical school.
Tell me something that most people don’t know about you.
I come from a music background. When I was younger, I made a lot of music, performed at a few different concerts and things like that. I rapped and played instruments. It was a hobby that made me a little bit of money.
If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?
Either Malcolm X or Martin Luther King, for the obvious reasons of their impact on society.
Tell us about your family.
I’ve been married to Daffeny for three years. We don’t have any kids, but I do have four dogs.
If you got an unexpected afternoon off, what would you do?
I’d probably go fishing or go to the gym.
What’s your favorite tool?
I would have to say a speed square and a level. They are synonymous with life. A speed square is used to mark straight lines and helps you mark a full 90-degree angle. It keeps everything straight, not crooked. The level does the same thing. It makes sure that everything is on the same level all the way across. It’s the same with life. You need to have a level head to stay focused and keep things straight in life.
What was your favorite part of being in the field?
Building relationships with my coworkers, being part of a crew, a team. The connections you make throughout your career are very important to your success in this field.
If you weren’t a teacher, and money was no object, what would you be?
I would be a public figure, someone who deals in the music industry but also someone who could speak out against the injustices that we’ve been dealing with.
If you were to tell someone “Thank You” for helping you become you, who would it be and why?
My adopted mother, Cheryl. She never let me down and never left my side. She was always with me until she passed away in 2016. She always encouraged me to be the best man that I could possibly be.
What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to new students who are just starting out?
Keep your head in the game and stay strong. Do not take failure to mean you have been unsuccessful. In order to succeed, you have to know what failure feels like. Never give up.