Yeeee-Hah!!!

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Folks -
Well, FWIW, the guys in the white hats win, every once in a while!
I had applied for a part time teaching post as the Regional Occupation Program Woodworking Instructor about 3 weeks ago.... I got an interview, and frankly didn't think I did as well as I had hoped - Christ - I hadn't been on a "Job Interview" since Nixon was NOT in Cambodia. I've never taught before, but it's something that I have wanted to do, part of my "game plan"
Anyway, I interviewed in the requisite "Tool-Time" flannel, and walked into an "Interview By Commitee" Yeesh! A couple of the other applicants were also in que, and from what I was able to discern, they had more experience (read: teaching credential) and were wearing suits. Well, I'm from a small down, and did give it some thought, but I didn't really want to wear a suit - when I do, people somehow just assume that I am "the defendant". Go figure.
Long story short, I got the call yesterday at 5pm - They offered me the post at half-time, with flex hours. That's EXACTLY what I need right now. The existing postion is only for teaching through the end of the academic year, and that may change, but it's a start.
I was kind of hoping that working Mark Twain into a sample lesson plan that I drafted would help. I go over for assimilation on Tuesday, and will find out more.
The gig is teaching woodworking to Jr and Sr. HS students that want to go into the building trades. The program has been on hiatus, and I'll find out more about the structure next week.
If there are ANY other WW instructors out there, I would sure appreciate a ping, if you're up for some dialog from a "newbie" instructor.
More to come!
John Moorhead
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Congratulations.
Prepare -- stick to the lesson plan -- Prepare better next time.
Get the lesson right -- then don't vary it.
But you already knew that. :-)
John Moorhead wrote:

--
Will
Occasional Techno-geek
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Congratulations
Some things I learned about teaching.
Prepare a detailed lesson plan and know it and by all means, before your first time in front of the class PRACTICE WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO SAY. Make sure that your lesson fits within the time allotted. Remember, you ARE supposed to be the expert. If you're fumbling for the next word and/or rambling from topic to topic, you're students will start to believe that is not the case and you will lose control of the class and they will hate you if you keep them late.
Always prepare demonstrations in advance and never demonstrate anything you have not prepared. (This goes back to the fact that you are the expert and things work for you.)
Anticipate and be prepared for questions. If you don't know something or can't recall the answer, throw the question back to the class for discussion while you think of a good answer. In the worst case scenario, note how great the question is and say that it is something you will have to look into and make darn sure that you have an answer the next day. (Remember, you are the expert and this is not something you can afford to have happen frequently.)
Be organized. Before class begins, write an outline on the board of the topics you will cover that day in the order they will come up. (This helps you stay on track too.) Start the class with a short introduction telling the students what will be covered. Cover the material. Take a few minutes at the end of the class to summarize what was learned.
Respect your students. They are all bright kids with different skills, so encourage them. Make the class interesting to them and make it fun.
Good luck!
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FWIW - Here's a lesson plan with no plan. But it teaches something of value.
I had an interesting time with Cub Scouts. I had them make a simple box to carry tools. (No power tools). They had to cut five pieces of wood for the sides, ends and bottom, and drill a hole in the ends for a dowel. (I used a drill press to cut the holes for them, once they marked the position).
I gave them a general idea of what they had to do, and let them try on their own.
We tend to forget how much we know, and how little beginers know. I'm not a teacher, but I think they learned many lessons that day.
Like measuring, drawing a straight line, using a hand saw. Remembering to keep track of the width of the wood, clamping wood, the importance of square ends, the importance of consistent lengths, finding the center of a board, etc.
Once they do this, they really appreciate things like a bench hook, square, etc.
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A.M. Wood wrote:

Everything said already above and remember some of these kids won't use tools like this again for 5-10 years but they will remember what you taught them about safety and what you showed them about safety, too. That will help them keep their fingers and they'll (eventually) thank you for it!
Josie
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All the below is sage advise. I'll only add, challenge them. Get them all involved.
When I was teaching at a local JC, I once moved all of the students from the back rows to the front. They did not care for this but the students now seated in the front rows involved themselves more. Fro the rest of the semester, they never really knew where they would be sitting!
Dave

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Congrats on your new gig! Sounds fantastic. Keep us updated.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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Good for you John. The students will be lucky to have a teacher that wants to be there.
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John Moorhead wrote:

Super!!!
Enjoy the opportunity and most of all, have fun, both you and the kids.
Lew
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John Moorhead wrote:

You mean the kluckers? Ugh.
Oh, ok. Congratulations! Very glad to hear you are getting to do what you want to do; it is a rare treat.
PK
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Congratulations also on teaching what you love.
I agree with all the other comments, and:
Kids in occupational classes are probably there because they are "concept impaired." They think with their hands, not their brains. Don't spend too long on lecture--let them get started using their hands. They will learn more from doing than they will from listening. I fear in our emphasis on academic subjects these kids get left out.
Lots of things that come naturally to you are news to them. I was surprised how hard reading an architectural scale was for my students. I thought people were born knowing how to do that. If you have to back up to meet them where they are, be ready to do so.
Have some "no fail" work early. Most people need confidence builders that they aren't as dumb as they think they are.
Always tell them what they are doing right!!! They know damn well what they did wrong, and are pretty amazed they did something right. I tried to make one substantive positive comment for each negative one I had to make.
I always try to remember how I was taught, and do the things that I reacted positively to, and not do the things that grated.
And, as one older teacher told me, remember that there is always a leader in each classroom. If it isn't you, then it will be one of the students. Take charge and run with it--and have fun.
Walt C Who just retired from teaching in a 2 year technical college.

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BTDT. First college class after 19 years out of HS was drafting which I aced in HS. Instructor "lectured" and then turned the class over to me as "Teach" with a smile. I'd translate what he was trying to say to the kids in the class. I learned a LOT.
wrote:

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are "concept

I think you're painting with a pretty broad brush here. I know at least three people who I took woodshop with who have Ph.D.s and are college faculty (including me). We took took woodshop because we wanted to build stuff...even in junior high we turned bowls, made inlaid chessboards, and other cool stuff in addition to the requisite carved salad spoons and birdfeeders. I also took metal shop and a course on electricity that I learned a lot from. Several of my friends-- all of whom went to college --took mechanical drawing, including one guy who went to BU and is now an engineer.
I think the OP has gotten the most important info of all from those who are urging him to keep things interesting for the kids. I haven't ever taught junior high, but I know this lesson applies to my college students just as much.
-Kiwanda
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Not wanting to start a flame war here, but I think the "broad brush" may be right on. Most of the public schools here concentrate on the academic & intellectual teaching, but we also have the Board Of Cooperative Educational Services, which are primarily occupational schools(Beautician, auto/truck mechanics, etc.). A large percentage of the students who go to "Bo-seas" are in that conceptually or educationally challenged people who by default need to learn a "trade" to get on with life.
Times have changed from when I attended school. Most of the guys took wood and metal shop, as well as mechanical drawing. These were the normal optional courses not "required" for graduation, but taken to add to the required courses. Today many of our schools no longer offer these(as has been discussed here on the wRECk more than once), and if they are offered, it is just as the OP said, through the "Regional Occupation Program". It is a shame these have been relegated to the "gray area" for students who are challenged in other areas.
'Nuff said, I'll get down off my soap box now.
--
Nahmie
Those on the cutting edge bleed a lot.
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Norman D. Crow wrote:

Maybe to everything you said, but college bound students here are still offered the chance to take woodworking courses and some kids get themselves into summer school to take "required classes" so they will have a chance to take the "optional" woodworking classes only offered during the regular school year.
I have a couple of trucks and blinking wooden boxes* to prove it. The* blinking wooded boxes had an electrical component to it. I never figured out why the box was supposed to blink but the teenager who gave me this gift was thrilled to bits because it did.
Josie
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[snipperization]
Great news, John!
A.M.Wood's reply pretty much says it all. Well put, Mr. Wood. I just wanted to add a couple of things.
Make the projects interesting. A soapbox derby ? A trebuchet? Something with a competitive edge. At every turn, push safety till it becomes second nature. Set up a staged scene, blade guard missing, long loose sleeves, no safety glasses etc and do a "What's wrong with this picture" Set up a reward/demerit point system for safety violations.
Above all... have them build stuff they want to own. There is also no reason everybody has to make the same thing as long as many of the same methods are part of their projects.
Allow them to use their own designs. (If the school allows that sorta 'free' thinking.)
Safety and fun.
FWIW
00
Rob
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Robatoy wrote:

Do NOT make a trebuchet. In some places that'll get you in trouble with the police. The school board and the parents won't be amused either. Sounds like the school teacher who's going to jail for make the explosives to demonstrate "rate of reactions". Fun, but a BAD idea.
Dave in Fairfax
--
Dave Leader
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One more thought.
It sounds like these kids are going to use the classes as a basis for their future careers. With that in mind, get in touch with some of the local employers your students may look to for work after graduation. Find out the kinds of skills and knowledge those employeers are seeking and make sure your students know this stuff. For example, if you're teaching cabinetmaking, and local building codes require that homeowners obtain building permits for kitchen remodels, take some time to discuss the process and some of the requirements. Obviously they won't need to be "experts" on the subject, but they will at least be able to knowingly nod in agreement when the topic comes up and they can ask informed questions.
Also, if you can, arrange for these people to come in as guest speakers. It will give your students a chance to hear about different ways of doing things and provide them with a chance to meet and network with people in the business and maybe show off some of their own work.
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I see your point. But I was thinking more of small trebuchet...nothing big. Just big enough to launch a Volkwagen the length of a football field.... maybe smaller...like a table-top version hurling an egg.
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Hmm. Would a mini-trebuchet also be a problem? It might, if one assumes the worst in people.
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