Saturday, December 23, 2017

Loaf Pan Layout & Loafer Lay-a-bout

I read an editorial the other day and this song was mentioned. I've been humming & whistling it ever since - figured I'd pass it along.  You're welcome.

What I really wanted to post about, however, was making a liner for a pair of loaf pans so the Missus could make fruitcake.

She tells me the recipe calls for a liner out of brown paper, you grease it up and then you put a layer of wax paper on top of that one and grease it as well. "Think you can take care of that for me?" No problem I say. I grab a ruler and scissors and go to work on my layout. I get the pattern laid out and ask her if she wants rivet/soldering flanges on it and she tells me: "Just get it done, Hot Shot. I've got the oven warming up." The point here is that I've done enough sheet metal layout over the years that making a pattern for a rectangular box isn't much of a brain teaser, even if it does have tapered sides. Besides, this is something I learned in drafting class back in eighth grade.

Now the question is, how many high school kids of today could make this thing using only a ruler and a pencil with no instructions? I'd like to think that 90 percent of them could. The answer is probably closer to 10 percent. I taught drafting at the high school level one year and we did these types of things, so it's not like they can't master it. The problem is where are they going to learn it? If you look at the typical high school curriculum, I'm thinking you'd be hard pressed to find anything about sheet metal layouts and developments even though this is a skill used a lot more often than you might think. Boilermakers, pipefitters, sheet metal men, people working in auto and motorcycle repair work, carpenters doing flashing around windows and eaves, as well as those doing general metal fabrication work. There's a lot of cut and fold work out there. Ask any boat builder about lofting or a seamstress about putting a couple of darts in a blouse.  Even if you never make any type of development after high school, developing the skill to be able to see how the flat pattern will appear when folded together or vice-versa, is definitely worth having.

Here's another education thing - and just one more reason why it's time for me to get out of teaching. I had a kid last semester that for whatever reason had trouble getting to school in the morning at 8:00. He was working but I think it was mostly he's just unclear on the whole concept of promptness and responsibility. Anyway, I teach the morning class and another guy teaches the same class in the evening. The other instructor doesn't mind this kid coming in to make up class time - all of us do the same thing to help students get their time in. So Monday morning of the last week the kid shows up, late of course, but he's there. I tell him to make sure he shows up on Wednesday for the final exam. Wednesday, no show. I leave a copy of the test for the night guy in case the kid shows up. No show there either. Thursday I get a e-mail from a counselor that the little darling needs to get his test taken. I tell the counselor to have him contact me and we'll schedule a date but it has to be soon because the grades are due the following Tuesday. The kid tells me he'll be there at 9:00 on Monday morning. I show up, stick around for an hour and head back out. He's a no show. I didn't have to come in but I had some other things to do so I'll be a nice guy and this will be my last official act of kindness at the college. I get home and I've got a friend request from the little darling on Facebook! So he can't make it the final exam but we should be Facebook buddies. Definitely time for me to just stay home and make liners for loaf pans. And people say I'll be bored sitting around the house.


Frankie Flood said...

Your last paragraph rings true for me. I read it aloud to my wife as I wanted her to hear someone else explain the unexplained events of education and current students. I often come home with stories about students that my wife just doesn't believe. She thinks I'm just becoming a grump the longer I teach. We both had a chuckle over your story, but it was only to keep from crying. I'm glad it's not just me that has these strange occurrences!

Shop Teacher Bob said...

It's definitely not just you but unfortunately it is real easy to become a grump the longer you're in the game. My last few years at the high school I was getting it from both ends. Dealing with the students IS the job, sometimes difficult, but that's what you're there for. But dealing with the crap from above, that should never be. It starts at the federal level, then the state piles on, then the local school board, and then the school administration. It can be rather frustrating. However, teaching can be one of the most rewarding jobs you can imagine - as you well know. I've had a great career but could have done a better job if I would have been better at dealing with the knuckleheads who somehow got promoted into "leadership" positions.

You just keep doing what you're doing. As you get more years under your belt, you'll start getting more feedback from your students who have made their way in the world and you'll see how important what you and the rest of us in "maker education" really is.

Best wishes for a happy, productive New Year!