My students are awesome.
This is the time of year when I get most excited about teaching. I know most teachers love the start of the academic year when everyone is excited about restarting. But since I teach sculpture, a dirty, grimy, sweaty class where students have to wear crappy clothes and they have to take the class as a requirement - the start of the academic year is not always so exciting. Many of the students are not exactly looking forward to the class so it becomes my goal to make them love it.
It takes some time to see them come around and many of them would sooner die than let me know that I've won them over, but during the steel project people start smiling more and walking around with a new confidence. That's when I know I've got them. That's when I get excited.
The fall time change makes our sculpture patio more of a challenge but we added some halogen lights to extend the work times.
In the daytime all the visitors and even some of the students see and hear us working on the patio and think we are the physical plant. I can't imagine what they think when they see us illuminated at night.
Not only do the students stop caring about being fashionable, they embrace the safety attire. The fire resistant "mad scientist jackets" are worn with pride and the students carefully pick through the box of welding caps to find one that speaks to their personality. That's Shawny wearing the Dolla' Bills cap.
Everyone wants to wear the flame welding helmet. I'm told it makes the welds more awesome. I spend time with each student when they weld for the first time and teach them what to do. I stay with them until they get the hang of it and then sometimes I snap a photo to show them just how cool they look. When Ashley saw this image of her welding she sent me an email that simply said: "let me just say that i'm a badass!"
We don't allow hearts, stars or glitter (or hugging or crying) in sculpture. But I have to admit that this note on the dry erase board made me smile. It also made me realize that there are 31 more people in the world now who know how to weld. But I still erased the heart and smiley face.
What started out as this...
...ended up looking like this.
And what started as this...
...turned into this.
And Mia (please take a moment to notice the welding cap sitting high up on her head to protect her curls) turned this...
The only problem for me is that after everyone knows how to weld and the project is winding up, there's not much for me to do but observe. I get bored easy and on this particular Saturday...that's right, they came in to work on a Saturday...I paid tribute to The Kids In The Hall by taking pictures of me squishing people's heads.