Little Rock educator leads a construction technology class

An educator from the Metropolitan Career Technical Center in Little Rock is changing the way students learn construction technology in a fun, interactive class.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Students in the construction technology class at the Metropolitan Career Technical Center in Little Rock are always on the go.

In traditional classes, students are usually expected to sit and be quiet, but not in Metro: this classroom can be as noisy as a pep rally.

The class is led by Toyoshima Gray, a passionate teacher and two-year president of the Chicot Elementary School PTA, with a bold vision for the future.

The class begins with Gray “clapping” along with the students, followed by an energetic shout of “chotonstruction” from the group.

The students were aware of the drill even though it was still early in the school year.

According to Gray, teaching construction jobs was a perfect fit since his father worked in maintenance.

“So I’ve been around tools my whole life,” Gray explained. “I used to take apart, you know, different tools that I had, and I’d get into trouble, but I’ve always loved working with machinery, with different tools, especially power tools.”

Gray has been with Metro for four years and said she loves being in a school setting, helping teachers and interacting with students.

Two of the main learning tools at Metro include communication and teamwork, which Gray has used in his teaching.

In the spring, students will have the opportunity to become entrepreneurs through an interactive project in which they will be given materials and instructed to create something marketable from them.

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“And they build something out of nothing,” Gray said.

Their creations will then be sold in a special silent auction, but perhaps the most important thing these students will develop is confidence.

So is Devin Gray, gold medalist at the State Leadership Skills Competition in Atlanta, Georgia, and the National Skills Competition with all 50 states.

“I thought I had won, because that was my way of thinking, I thought I had won, but I came out fourth,” he said.

But that wasn’t good enough for Devin, and he decided that next time he will win.

“I’m going to bring home a gold medal,” he added.

That’s part of the reason Gray stays active in and out of class: the energy that comes from knowing you’re in the right place.

“I love helping students. I love helping people anytime and I just have to say what’s on my heart. Any time God gives me an opportunity to be a blessing to someone, I take it,” Gray explained. .

Before the school year is out, your class will be working with non-profit organizations in central Arkansas, such as Our House and Habitat for Humanity.

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