Reply by Randy L.

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Posted on high school wood shops

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Randy L.

19 posts in 4024 days

#1 posted 06-16-2010 06:34 AM

We had an amazing shop and an amazing woods teacher. There were kids in my class who wanted absolutely nothing to do with school – they would skip classes, got terrible grades, etc. etc. BUT – they would show up at 6 AM to get an extra two hours of time in the woodshop. Our teacher was there everyday at 5 or 5:30 in the morning, he’d clean the fish he caught the night before on the workbench, and let everyone who wanted the extra time in the shop work.

He was the kind of teacher that had a ton of respect for everyone in his classes and found good in everyone and made it known. For this, everyone respected him. He would not put up with any crap, but was also leniant with the rules that everyone knew were bogus (i think the fact that he was getting close to his retirement years contributed to this!). He placed a lot of trust in ALL of his students, and in return had the trust of all his students.

To top it off he was an amazing, incredibly skilled woodworker. The projects he built are some of the best I have ever seen. He passed this down to his students – he would never let a ‘mediocre’ quality project leave his shop – he expected the best out of everyone.

At the end of every year, we would clean the shop out, move the tools aside and display all of our projects – grandfather clocks, ceder chests, gun cabinets, turnings, entertainment centers , etc. (all of very high quality for high school students) and we would have a fish fry with all the fish that he caught throughout the year for all of the faculty and students. It was a way for us to show off to the rest of the school what these students who the rest of the school thought were underachievers were really capable of!

I will never forget the time a fellow student sheepishly came to him to let him know that he accidentally cut a piece that he had a lot of time into just a touch too short. Our teacher thought about it for a moment, and with a completely straight face told him to “go find the board stretcher, I haven’t seen it in awhile – so you may have to look around for it.” This student spent the rest of class looking for the board stretcher, too embarrassed to ask for help finding it! Finally, at the end of class, someone finally clued him in. Everyone, including the student, got a good laugh out of it!

Sorry for the long post, but it brings back some good memories!

-- Randy - Milton, WI

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