Wednesday, May 30, 2007

During the summer months, I shift gears and instead of teaching children, I teach adults. There are some major differences. When I teach children, they are somewhat hesitant at first. They don't really know what they are getting themselves into. Adults, on the other hand, know exactly what they are signing up for and usually know exactly what they want to get out of it. So they are totally attentive, full of questions, and are sometimes insistent that their goals are met. Their high level of engagement can make teaching challenging and also rewarding in ways that are clearly different from elementary and middle school classes.

My first class of the summer is coming this weekend in Ft. Lauderdale with the South Florida Woodworking Guild. I'll be teaching box making to 21 students, many of whom are experienced woodworkers hoping to learn more about making boxes. I'll be busy for a couple days getting ready and may not have time for the blog. So dig into the archives with links at the right if you are bored and missing a current post. If you are wanting to learn box making, I have week-long classes with spaces available this summer in Los Angeles and Indiana. Email me for dates and contact information.

I want to talk just for a moment about my adult students. They come from all walks of life. Some are craftsmen, but most are professionals. Many are doctors, lawyers, and engineers or teachers. Most take up woodworking because they have arrived at an understanding that something was missing from their lives... a tactile quality, and an object signifying accomplishment. Most professions, including teaching, are so abstract that one never gets the full sense of accomplishment that one feels when having made something of obvious beauty and quality. We never outgrow the need to learn. We never outgrow the need to express our innermost qualities. We never outgrow the need to engage the world and life through the creative powers in our own hands. You can call it wisdom if you like. Our societal failure to understand this basic human need I call, stupidity.

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