Friday, June 01, 2018

Captain America!

I spent part of the day yesterday meeting at ESSA with the program committee and the building and grounds committee. We will be growing the school in the coming years by enriching our programs, making them more responsive to student needs and by building new facilities as we are able.

The character in the photo is a previously unnamed superhero puppet that survived play with various school children on campus throughout the second semester of school. The last I saw of him before he was returned to the wood shop, he was being launched at high speed down the slide and used as target practice for slingshots. He is no worse for the wear from such abuse.

When things are made of wood, they can last, and if not, they can be fixed, and when their useful life is over, they can be composted or provide warmth in the fire. This guy will serve now as an example of student work in the book I'm working on.

He is a patriot. You can tell by the red, blue and natural wood colors. I hereby name him "Captain America" and you can tell by his small head, that his body is strong.

A reader informed me that even in Vermont, wood working programs are still falling under the policy maker's axe.

I have this fantasy... that we learn to devote our time to making things that last, that are worth caring for, and that then allow us to withdraw from participation in the consumer culture that's killing us and the planet. On Sunday we were invited to dinner and ate from the ceramic plates the hostess had made. Can we have more of that, PLEASE?

On Sunday I plan to take a blacksmithing class at ESSA, and use my time there to harden blades for carving knives so they can be re-handled and made more useful than when I made them in the first place. Each thing we learn to do for ourselves cuts one of the strings that binds us as mindless consumers to a wheel of planetary destruction. I will be writing today and fitting drawers to small jewelry chests to maintain balance during the process.

When the manual arts were first introduced to schools, many teachers argued that there was no time in the school day for such frivolity. Manual arts proponents argued successfully, that learning to making real things, actually made the time spent in academic work more effective, and raised the students' interests overall. The manual arts advocates were proven right. Then the policy maker's efforts to cheap out on our children's educations pushed manual training aside. We can fix that.

Join me if you can.

Make, fix, create, and adjust education so that we all learn likewise.

No comments:

Post a Comment