Wednesday, April 06, 2005


I almost fired a few students today.

We were working on our conduit project. These three were mostly goofing off. About 30 minutes into their goofing off, two went to wash their hands. The sink is in the shop. Then, they walked out the door. I asked the remaining one of the band where they were off too. He said they were going to get something to drink. When they returned with their drinks, I asked them when the rules changed to where they could just walk out of class without asking. Each in turn told me they thought that the other had told me they were going. Then, they went to where they were working and sat down. I asked them what the deal was. They were taking break, they informed me.

BREAK ????

They had been in the shop 30 minutes and they needed a break ? I informed them that in the 'real world,' you took a 10 minute break after 2 hours of work.

Based on the horse play of earlier, the leaving the 'jobsite' and the early break, I would have fired them in the 'real world' or at least given them a written warning.

This set up the start of the rest of the classes. They all began with a "Here is what I expect out of you" lecture. I hate when I have to do that. However, the rest of the classes took it quite well and worked 'on task' and made great progress on their projects.

I had one later block, where I had no choice but to put 3 guys together on the project. The problem was that two of them would rather cut up and play instead of doing any actual work. One of the two will not listen when you explain things to him and looks dazed and confused when you correct him on the incorrect way he is going about it. The other just doesn't care because he already knows everything he needs to know. Poor guy number three was frustrated from yesterday and ready to quit. They tried 3 times to install the first piece of conduit from box 1 to box 2. It was just a simple 90° bend with a 1.5 inch kick out. Each time they messed up the conduit because they didn't listen when we went over how to do it.

Finally, student 3 asks, "Mr. Simpson, how do we do this? We haven't got anything done." I took him to my desk in the shop and showed him what to measure, first. Then, armed with measurements, I showed him how to bend what he needed to bend. Two bends and one cut later, the conduit was installed from box 1 to 2. From there it was a repeat in reverse to install conduit from box 2 to 3.

I sat him down and explained to him that the other two didn't care and if he was going to get this done, he was going to have to take charge. He was going to have to be the "lead man". He needed to lead the other two in this project. He took charge. He made a great showing for himself after a miserable start. I was proud of him and told him so.

There are two words I keep trying to get them to see. "Real world" Out there is the real world, where bad performances don't mean bad grades. They mean you do not eat. They mean your car is repo'ed. Of my 23 students, there are 5 that I would fire in the real world.

My job, however, is not to weed them. It is to teach them. I told them that they must learn how to do this. Once we know how, then we can work on speed, but first, they need to learn it.

I think I got through to a few of them.

That is a good day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I bet you're a great teacher. I was beginning to wonder if there were any left. You already deserve a raise :)