Romeoville High School auto mechanics teacher takes hands-on approach

RHS autos teacher Pete Morris says he values exposing students to a career path they might not have considered

Romeoville High School autos teacher Pete Morris instructs students during class.

Romeoville High School auto mechanics teacher Pete Morris said that despite his lifelong affinity for working with cars, he never thought he’d be teaching it as a career.

Morris said he started the hobby out in his garage with his dad as a child.

“I’ve been working on cars my whole life,” he said in a video interview last year with Valley View District 365U.

Morris said he attended Northern Illinois University to study and become a history teacher. During his time there, he got the opportunity to work as a fill-in auto mechanics teacher and realized he loved to teach students about his lifelong interest.

Then, when Morris was getting ready to graduate, the RHS alum was considering returning to his alma mater to teach history. He said he contacted an assistant principal who informed him the high school’s auto mechanics teacher was retiring.

“Well, you got to be kidding me,” Morris remembered thinking. “That’s how I ended up here.”

Morris added that the best part of teaching a subject like the basics of how a car engine works is that the lesson is hands on. Students actually get to apply what they learn in class to a real-life vehicle in the RHS auto mechanics garage.

Plus, he said, there’s great value in exposing students to a wide variety of fields and career options during their high school years.

“They don’t know what they want to do yet,” he said. “And it’s important that they have an opportunity to see and experience these things to maybe find out a career path that they didn’t even know existed.”