Home > Children, Elementary Education, Teachers > Sixth Grade Wood Shop

Sixth Grade Wood Shop

wood shopThinking back on my own education, I think of a handful of teachers and coaches who developed my sense of worthiness and strength, capacity and courage. These are the teachers and coaches who exhorted a strong influence on the person I have become.

My most influential teachers and coaches led by example. They were authentic in their enthusiasm for teaching; they were honest and trustworthy.  More than anything, they demonstrated respect for the young people in their care without condescension or affectation.

Sixth grade wood shop was a pivotal experience for me.  My wood shop teacher, while temperamental and a little unstable,  taught my class to use power tools including a band saw, planer, drill press and more.  By now, all my memories of his safety instructions have faded. What I remember is this:  I was trusted.  He allowed me to use outrageously dangerous equipment.  He knew that my classmates and I were ready for such great responsibility even before we did.  For years, the fruits of my labor, an ottoman foot stool with hand-made mortise and tenon joints anchored my parent’s living room as a memento of my coming-of-age.   I am incalculably proud of that ottoman.

I believe that our children have greater capacity than we give them credit.  But only when treated with respect, can our children develop their true potential.  The typical day a young child’s life provides few opportunities to make choices or exercise independence.  Their days follow a linear path designed by adults.  It is our duty, as parents and teachers to ensure that our children are prepared to know how to live, and have the skills like confidence, grit, and curiosity to do so.

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