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"view from the front" is that about 40% of the students have some motivation, about 40% range from being dark, cool and withdrawn, to only having a benign interest in learning; the remaining 20% is split between kids that are really interested, and a few real trouble makers - sometimes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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On Mon, 21 Mar 2005 04:57:20 GMT, "John Moorhead"

snip
With your enthusiasm and motivation you will certainly reach out and make a difference. Good luck and the best of the new school year!
Allyn
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Good for you Mr. Moorhead. It sounds as though the school chose the right person for the job. I wish more shops were functioning in our schools today. (I believe they will make a comeback but it'll take some insightful folks in the admin to recognize the role the shops play.)
Keep the talk and goals of the shop interesting - try to relate what they can do there to their daily lives. When they can see the connection between the stuff they can learn in your class and the stuff they deal with outside of school you'll be generating curiosity and enthusiasm.
--
Owen Lowe
The Fly-by-Night Copper Company
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John...
Sounds like an interesting week - what one of my teachers called "an enriching experience" - and that the kids were very much in "testing mode."
It sounds very much as if the headstrong young lady had had opportunity to observe tools in use but had no opportunity to ask questions or get explanations (perhaps because she was "just a girl".) But it also sounds as if there may be some real interest and aptitude - in which case you may have a star pupil about to bloom. Your history of the circular saw may have provided exactly the kind of encouragement she needs...
The spray paint, sword, 'shrooms, etc. all sound like bids for attention - fairly normal (if aggravating) behavior for that age. I'd probably help to demonstrate (not tell!) that attention goes first to those who're really trying to learn and who're getting it right.
All kids have issues - it's part of being a kid and goes with the territory. I'd worry most about the ones who don't /know/ they have issues...
Anything that you can pass around for "show and tell" will help to get 'em all on the same page and stay focused (for at least a while) and helps you pass the "Does he know what he's talking about?" test.
Hope this next week is a good one for all your classes!
--
Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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Morris Dovey wrote:

Snip>
Now there's an idea. How about hand-cutting some dovetails real quick-and-dirty-like? It may not sink in unless you let one of the know-it-alls try it too. Kinda like a little contest or something. "Okay, Scooter, let's see how you did."
Just a thought. I know my little eyes get wide when I see hand-craftsmanship in action.
-Phil Crow
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John Moorhead wrote:

Wasn't sure sometime whether to laugh, cry or cheer!
Been there -- done this sort of think. Best wishes.
On a serious note:
Make sure you have someone who is not involved you can talk to physically. (not on ng's).
Ask them to watch for signs of "burn-out" and frustration on your part. I have heard of such things happening... They cause a range of medical problems. No personal experience of course...
--
Will
Occasional Techno-geek
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