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Joe Busby ‘99EDD on Taking Inspiration From Other Educators

Joe Busby

Joe Busby ‘99EDD said he “cried like a baby” when he was presented in April with the North Carolina Technology Student Association’s Influence Award honoring Dr. Richard E. Peterson.

Busby, a technology, engineering and design teacher at Panther Creek High School in Cary, said Peterson was one of several professors who helped him learn different approaches to teaching while he was a doctoral student at the NC State College of Education.

Peterson, who died last year, was an associate professor of technology education at the college.

“He was inspiring and it was always good for me to be with him and he seemed to always act the same to be with me,” Busby said. “He was extremely kind to people. I aspire to that.”

Busby, who is also former teaching associate professor in the NC State College of Education’s Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education, knew he wanted to teach while he was still a high school student. He spent his study hall periods in the industrial arts shop, picking the teacher’s brain.

“I just kind of fell in love with what was going on there and I enjoyed working with the other students,” he said. “I made the decision in 12th grade to go into industrial arts education.”

He shares in his students’ joy when they take home a first-place prize at a national conference, but also uses the opportunity to travel around the country as a means to continually improve his own teaching by taking inspiration from fellow educators.

“I learned early as a teacher to travel, to go to the conferences and meet people, and interact with them and ask them, ‘What are you teaching? How are you teaching it?’ And bring that information back and try it,” he said.

While Busby may be learning new techniques at national conferences, it’s the students’ sometimes unexpected experiences that stick with him.

“I was teaching at North Rowan Middle School, 97 percent [of students qualified for] free or reduced lunch in the school, and I was taking them to a regional TSA conference and we were headed towards Boone. And one of the kids on the bus shouted out, ‘Mountains! I’ve never seen the mountains,’” Busby recalled.