A Northwest Indiana Life In The Spotlight: Michael Bratcher

A Northwest Indiana Life In The Spotlight: Michael Bratcher

“The duty of an instructor is to be a positive influence in the lives of their students.”

This is what Michael Bratcher had to say about teaching. A teacher at Whiting High School, Bratcher specializes in Project Lead the Way, with a focus on primarily engineering-based courses and personal financial responsibility. Prior to his teaching career, Bratcher spent over 25 years as a mechanical engineer.

He attained his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering technology from Purdue University Calumet (now Purdue University Northwest) and then went on to obtain a master’s in business administration. He later underwent the Transition to Teaching program at Calumet College of St. Joseph.

“Engineering caught my eye because I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of creating things and utilizing your imagination alongside your math and problem-solving skills,” Bratcher said. “However, I’ve always enjoyed teaching. When I was working professionally, I actually taught some graduate-level courses. Over time, I decided to make a complete career change and transitioned into the teaching field.”

Bratcher explained that his mindset as a teacher is to be as patient as possible. He understands that every student operates differently, so he adopts a hands-on and adaptable mentality with each of them.

“Teachers need to be flexible and understanding in their daily routines,” Bratcher said. “We have to be firm and provide structure, but also be empathic toward them. If I could have a positive influence on one student a day, I would feel content.”

Bratcher stated that his primary goal as an instructor is to offer students the tools to solve problems and to leave room for both mistakes and improvement. He firmly believes that teachers have to lead by example and act as good role models.

“We learn by making mistakes and improving our mindsets and skills to find solutions,” Bratcher said. “This not only applies to academic learning, but to life. As a teacher, I am there to guide the students and cultivate them into becoming stronger people.”

Bratcher claimed that his years of working as a teacher and as an engineer have taught him the true value of cooperation and teamwork. Teaching has really opened his eyes to the troubles and triumphs that instructors face.

“I feel blessed to be surrounded by such incredible students, faculty, and staff,” Bratcher said. “In this time of COVID-19, it is truly special to see everyone working together to overcome all sorts of challenges.”