3rd try - The Shop Class was somewhere around Barstow


Folks -
Whew, I finished the first week! I've got 4 sets of students, and a group of drop ins.... One group was like hearding cats.... I should have been so lucky... After the first week my "view from the front" is that about 40% of the students have some motivation, about 40% range from being dark, cool and withdrawn, to only having a benign interest in learning; the remaining 20% is split between kids that are really interested, and a few real trouble makers - sometimes the same kid...
As for a "crisis of the week", I had a group of 'drop in' kids - they work for about a half hour during their lunch... and when they all left I noticed that one of them had just tagged the class door with spray paint. I followed them all out, asked who did it, and of course, nobody knew. I then said that the lunch work period was voluntary on my part, and that the shop would remain closed for lunchtime work until the responsible person came forward. I had the kid clean up the paint, and told him I may make him paint the door.... I've reconsidered that tho' - I want to be more constructive... maybe making some push sticks.
All of the kids in the classes have issues.... I'm learning that I am going to have to modify my instructional methods - short attention spans, lack of ability or desire to read and study.... kinda scary in a way to think of where they will be in 10 years. I am trying work in other instructional elements when I talk about how to do something, and there are some glimmers there... One young gal, very headstrong - knew everything, but not the NAME of things (WTF??).... she didn't know which machine was the drill press, or the jointer, but she could use them and her skills seem competent - anyway, I told her the history of the circular saw, and how a shaker seamstress invented the circular saw blade in the early 1800's - and that most modern saws all owe something to the lady - She *really* liked that story... Another kid made a sword (THERE's the pointy stick connection) and I had to explain, in some detail, why I wasn't going to let him take a 4 1/2" long oak spear out of the classroom. The "kid" is about 6'2" over 200" aryan as all get out with a mohawk, tats and a large inverted red star tatooed at the back of the base of his neck. By the time his Senior year comes around, he will have to turn sideways to make it through the door. I'll bet he already has plans for a Trebuchet!
Apparently, I am also "righting the ship" in terms of keeping things woodworking related - things seem to have been quite lax under the earlier instructor. One of the kids asked me where the weight bench was - I guess they had a weight bench in one corner - that explains the EZ Curl Bar that I found behind the Shop Bot and the chart showing bench press results. Gone also, I guess, is a "project car"(?).... I'll be getting rid of the carved mushrooms and marijuana leaves that were done on the shop-bot. If any of y'all need some of these carved on 6/4 clear pine let me know. You don't have to worry about finish, either - they've already been burned with a propane torch, wire brushed and covered in polyurethane. Some of the marijuana leaves have had the incised portions painted in green. This is okay, but in my opinion, the oeuvre of these examples lacks the depth that the purple and read highlights that only Northern California KGB is *known* for. If I can find a student's name on these lesser examples, I will inform the local 215 Compassion Centers and I will grade accordingly!
All said, I'm going to go back next week, hehe... The class prep work takes more time than I thought!
We don't need no education....
John Moorhead
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John:
You've got your work cut out for you. Schools changed a bit in the last few decades. Now, instead of a fight maybe producing a fat lip, broken nose, a missing tooth or two - or all of the above, it may involve a 9mm. Diseases that could be dealt with via penecillin now can be a long slow death death sentence. And drugs which use to just make you dumb and grin a lot can kill you, or worse yet, not kill you but condem you to a less than satisfying life. Add two parents working, or one full time and one doing two full time jobs, a working single parent putting in 50 hours per week to barely get by and you end up with a disturbing number of "vampires" - sleep days, up all night, sucking the blood out of everything around them - survival of the fittest children in adult bodies. Parent(s) don't have time for bowling, karate, ballet, soccer, little league baseball, Pop Warner football ... Hell, many of these kids don't get a decent meal even every four or five days - if then. Family, if there is any is typically hundreds if not a thousand miles away and there isn't any support system/nry to fill in the gaps the "compassionate conservatives" talk about but don't actually do anything to help make happen. These kids' role models are other 12-17 year olds who haven't a clue about the difference between existing and living. Any adult attention they get is usually negative and being praised for doing the right thing is a very rare occurance, and among vampires it's a sign of weakness and "lame">
And that's where folks like you jump into the breach (sp?). Finding the gifts and the goodness is hard work and it often never is discovered. BUT - each year there will be a few that respond. Those are the one's who'll remember you long after you're gone. They may not understand your influence and effect now - but they will. And if you're really lucky some will let you know how you helped change their lives. I used to tutor math after school. Twenty five years later one of the "hard guys" found me somehow and sent me an e-mail message. I didn't remember Dino but apparently I helped him get out of high school when he didn't think he'd ever graduate. That helping hand that was no big deal to me was a big deal to him. You just never know when a kind worf, a smile, a pat on the back or a helping hand can make a difference.
It's the "hard cases" that are starving for someone to care. And their the hardest to get to. But once in a while ...
Hang in there - you're doing a good thing, and getting paid. More wood! More tools! More TOYS!
charlie b
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