It's that time of year again where Fox 40 is honoring teachers in the community who go above and beyond for their students. This week, the highlight is on Broome-Tioga BOCES.

Chad Zajdel has been giving students real world experience for over a decade now.

As the auto body instructor at BOCES for 17 years, he knows that some students learn better with hands on instruction. 

"I think our educational system makes kids sit down, be quiet, pay attention and fill in the bubble sheet." said Zajdel. "At the end of the day, when these guys show up here that things aren't always perfect. Things don't go as they should, but we get them. There's a light at that end of the tunnel."
And his class is able to use their skills to help their community. Just a couple of weeks ago, Zajdel's students were able to completely refurbish three vehicles from the Owego police department.
Zajdel also draws on his own experience as a student, to reflect back into his classroom. 
"When I went to school, we we were really pushing college, college, college. And we see a lot of college kids coming out of college now and with no direction, nowhere to go. And huge student loans."
And knowing his students are set up for success, makes it all worth it.
"These guys can leave here with with some knowledge and put a paycheck in their pocket from day one."
And one of the things he is most passionate about, is providing a safe space for his students. 
All these students all have things going on at home, too. And not only am I an auto body teacher, but I'm also more like a guidance counselor, a life coach. Every day I would ride the bus from my home school to BOCES and it was the highlight of my day. And that's what I want to give back to these guys when they come in and they're like, this is the best part of my day that makes me want to come in to work every day."

Congratulations Mr. Zajdel!