Monday, August 08, 2011

Hanging on a teacher's every word...

This morning I began my box making class at Marc Adams School of Woodworking. This is my 7th year or maybe 8th year of teaching here, and so it should be easy for me by now, except that I know what to expect. There is nothing undemanding or routine about teaching a classroom/laboratory filled with 18 students listening to your every word. And this, unfortunately is unusual in American education. My students come to my class with very clear objectives. They want to hone their woodworking skills and learn everything I can teach them about a subject that they know will enrich their lives in tangible and esoteric ways.

Teaching at MASW is a bit different from teaching a classroom of kids, some of whom have questions about why they are there and who may not see the relevance of what you are attempting to teach to their own lives.

I got up very early in anticipation of it all. Students who have clear demands and a vested interest call for a teacher to give his or her best. And so teaching is not a thing to be taken lightly. Having taught here before helps me to understand what is required, and also that I dare not be unprepared to give my best.

Standing before such a class is the most rewarding thing that a teacher can face. It is an honor. It is what each and every teacher should have to look forward to each day... a classroom filled with students who hang on his or her every word and who come to class filled with anticipation of personal growth. Believe it or not, we can create schools in which learning and teaching are loved, where classes are not mind numbing routine and students and teachers are fully engaged.

Update. We had a great start on a productive week. We talked about boxes, box making, wood and a wide range of techniques. We built our first sled, and with a bit of resawing and planing, students were able to cut their first perfect miter joints.

make, fix and create...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very early indeed! You'll do fine, being a born teacher.

Mario