Friday, November 30, 2012

Calling All "Shop Teachers"



Courtesy of the Missus
I checked the site for The National Endowment for the Humanities the other day. I've attended three summer workshops about the Industrial Revolution they've funded and was curious as to what they have available for those of us who are semi-retired and working at a community college. Just so happens, they've got a few things. Because it's the humanities, not a lot for a welding teacher, maybe, but enough to warrant a second look. They are still offering the one for school teachers I attended in Lowell, Mass. on the Industrial Revolution. It was very well done and I got a chance to go to the site of Thoreau's cabin, the bridge in Concord where "the shot heard 'round the world" was fired, as well as learning about the mills of Lowell and the role they played in the development of the country. They pay you a stipend, so there's very little out of pocket expense and you can get credit for renewing your teaching license. If you teach, definitely check out the link.

I got a comment from dorkpunch a couple of posts back. Like Frankie Flood at Handverker, we seem to have a lot in common. He too is a shop teacher that digs motorcycles, old cars and trucks and tinkering with things. He's posting at his blog again, so you can check out what he's up to which brings me to this:

As I mentioned once before, it would be nice to have some type of shop teacher forum or at the very least, just a list of links to blogs where shop teachers are posting what they are doing. The creativity that goes on in the classrooms of these people is just amazing. I know that similar things are occurring in the classrooms of teachers of academic subjects but my main focus after 36 years as a shop teacher has to be the "technology educators". Dorkpunch teaches the younger students, I taught the high school age ones, and Frankie Flood teaches the college students. Doug Stowe at The Wisdom of the Hands covers little to big at his school along with his workshops and books. While that covers most everything, it is a pretty small sampling group.

The December Welding Journal has a blurb about Brian Copes, an AWS member and a pre-engineering teacher. Mr. Copes was honored by People magazine as one of their five Teacher of the Year recipients. This is precisely the type of person that the movers and shakers in education should be searching out and listening to and those of us teaching use as a source of ideas and inspiration. I found the high school website and the faculty listing for Mr Copes - it even had a link for his blog. Unfortunately, his postings are things like drill press safety, rather than his thoughts on education or features about the projects he's working on with his students. Check out the link on Mr. Copes and you'll see why we need his thoughts and philosophy.

If anyone out there knows of shop teacher/hands-on education blogs, let me know. I already changed the link list so there's a separate division for education. When I get a few more I'll send the list along to the new State Superintendent of Education and the governor elect here in Indiana, who seems to be very much pro career and technical education. The people in charge can't get out to see all of the great things that are being done, but no reason we can't mail it in. I stopped by the high school the other day and my replacement has already done some pretty cool things. He's in my own backyard and I wouldn't know what he's doing if I hadn't stopped by. My buddy Kevin read my mind and sent me a link yesterday to an education blog. It's not specifically technical education but from my quick perusal, it offers a lot of common sense solutions for what's facing education today. After he reads this post, I would imagine he'll be sending a few others. I ask the rest of you to do likewise.

People really need to see what's going on in these programs. You now have the "maker movement", Nuts, Bolts and Thingamajig FoundationThe Society of Creative Anachronism, steam punk people and, as always, hot rodders, interested in making things. All kinds of things. Who better to lead the way than those of us teaching "shop class", technology education, manual arts, Project Lead the Way, Stem, or whatever the hell you want to call it. The point is, damn near everyone that I have more than just a casual speaking relationship with, took some type of shop class or wished they had. And in that group I include the ladies with Home Ec or, as it now is known, Family and Consumer Sciences. We all profited from it. No reason we can't fix what's wrong with education. We fix everything else.

5 comments:

tvi said...

HEY BOB, I LOVE THE PIC!! THIS IS A BRILLIANT IDEA!! I'M NOT EVEN A TEACHER, AND THIS COULD TURN INTO SOMETHING GREAT!!I BELIEVE THAT ANY TIME THERE IS CONVERSATION NEW IDEAS COME TO LIGHT.THAT'S WHAT MAKES THIS SEEM BRILLIANT TO ME.MAN, I HOPE THIS THING TAKES OFF!

TALK TO YOU SOON,

TVI

Traveling Pirate said...

Man, I would have liked that Divine Comedy workshop from NEH in Siena, Italia. Who am I kidding? I would have also liked the one in Prague, the one in South Africa, and the one in Scotland. Too bad I don't teach anymore. Well, really not too bad cause I'm made for the new gig. I got to kick some whiny principal a$$ today and it felt good.

Traveling Pirate said...

Just saw they also have Istanbul, Brazil, and Rome. Dang!

Shop Teacher Bob said...

TVI: I'm not so sure about brilliant but there's a lot to be said about the free exchange of ideas. Whether it's teaching methods, projects, curriculum, or just opinion, it seems to me a "shop teacher clearing house" could be helpful to the classroom teacher, administration and the public.

Traveling Pirate: I'm not sure why these aren't more widely known but the three I attended were great and I just attended the one week workshops. Glad the job's panning out. Lot to be said for holding the trump cards.

Mike Roest said...

This is a blog of a close friend of mine. Proud to see the framework for Tech ed, or Shop is still strong in my corner of Canada.

http://rharmon.wordpress.com/