Repost - wtf?? The Shop Class was Somewhere around Barstow when...


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"view from the front" is that about 40% of the students have some motivation, about 40% range from being dark, cool and withdrawn, to only having a benign interest in learning; the remaining 20% is split between kids that are really interested, and a few real trouble makers - sometimes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, One tactic I used with kids who started out with EGO (eyes glazed over) was, once they were seated, I reversed where I gave the initial talk. As any instructor knows, most of the interested kids sit in the front and the EGO kids sit in the back. I would simply wait until they were all plopped down, then I would move to the back and had them turn the desks around. After that, they never knew from day to day where to sit.
Second, as I've said before, challenge them. Have them do something that puts them out of their paradigm right away, before their EGO. Have each kid make a simple project that requires the use of a few power tools. Say a picture frame. Then have them talk about ways to make the next one better.
Keep your head up John, we all will benefit from having our kids taught by involved, caring instructors.
Dave
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news:QFB%d.20758>

takes
Nah. According to the other teachers, there's no "prep" needed at all. Means you get hooked to substitute every time someone else has an IEP interview during your prep hour.
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BRAVO!1
You set the rules early on, and enforced them. Those that don't like your attitude will go somewhere else, which won't hurt your feelings a bit.
I found that my classes were divided into those who would succeed no matter what I did, those who wouldn't succeed not matter what I did, and those who if I reached I might make a difference. The first were the most fun to work with, the last were the toughest, because I had to keep thinking about how to help them grab hold even tho they weren't sure they wanted to do what I wanted them to do. I kept trying even with the ones that wouldn't succeed, it's amazing the seeds that you can plant that may not take root for a few years, and maybe not in your sight.
And I was amazed when I started teaching how much prep time I needed. And, for the first year, if I could count two good days in the week, I felt I had succeeded.
Teaching ain't quite as easy as people think it is.
Walt C
I found when I got

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wrote:

There's some truth to that, at least in my experience. I only took two shop classes in my public school career (French and Spanish were the electives I took), and thought they were a complete waste of time. Something must have took hold back then, though- after I gave up drinking, I kept remembering the walnut box I made back in middle school, and started pursing woodworking (furniture, as opposed to the framing and trim carpentry I had been doing) as a better use of my time than getting falling-down drunk three or four times a week. The hobby kept me sober then, and still does to this day. I tried to give a little of that back by taking a voc. ed. course taught by that same instructor, so that I could thank him- both for the class, and for that little box back in the 8th grade. Looking back, I can probably thank that guy not only for my woodworking hobby, but for my wife and my home as well. Sometimes it's amazing how something so simple can be so important later in life. You never know for sure who you're helping- or how.
Nice work, John. It's a noble profession and we thank you.
Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
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Good for you. Don't let the kid with the paint can take control. Make him take responsibility instead. If he learns nothing more than that then it doesn't matter what he can or can't do with a piece of pine.
Same goes for the chick wi' attitude. When she takes some kickback from the table saw, as inevitably she will, make sure she learns that nobody believes her B.S. any more than the saw did.
You'll probably be able to write a book about your experiences after a couple of years. It would be a great read.
J.
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