Bittersweet end-of-year venting

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Blog entry by Tooch posted 06-06-2013 10:26 AM 1616 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So I was up last night till about 12:30 watching my beloved Pittsburgh Penguins lose in double overtime to the Boston Bruins, and had to wake up at about 5:20 to the panting of my yellow lab needing to go outside, so forgive me if this seems a bit like rambling. Fortunately I will only have to get up this early two more times, as our last day of school is tomorrow (Friday), and teachers are allowed to check out for the summer on Monday.

This is always a bittersweet time for me, its the end of the school year and a happy time because I know summer is coming, which means more time with my wife and daughter. However, all the kids that I have made relationships with, and all the progress that we made over the last 178 days takes a long break, and I will have to virtually start all over again with a fresh bunch again in August. Some students will come back to visit, bringing pictures of projects they’ve done since graduation, or just to tell me stories about classes they had in college, but some students I know I will never see again.

Today is also the Senior Awards Ceremony, and I will be handing out a check to a student for the “Top Woodworking Award” as I have done for the past five years. The award includes a certificate, medal, and fairly modest check for the student to invest in education, tools, etc. for their future. This year’s recipient has done fabulous work all year long, in addition to the regular coursework he spent extra time building a really nice Mission Style coffee table, well deserving the check to invest in his future.

Another thing that is bittersweet is closing down the shop for summer. Most of the woodwork that I do personally, I do in the shop at school (after hours, of course). There is more room, many more tools/clamps at my exposure, and all the dust that I make stays at school, not in my garage. So when I close the shop, its kind of like I know I will be taking a break from a hobby for several months, too. I do have one thing I’m looking forward too…

I recently did a fundraiser with the kids and used the proceeds to buy a lathe. Since I haven’t turned anything in about 9-10 years, I figured I would bring that home to try and hone my skills again. So I bought a book and DVD, and will hopefully be able to “turn” out some nice projects. pardon the pun, I just couldn’t help it.

Well, time to get off to school. Just like school, I think the Penguins will be done on Friday night. Also, it is bittersweet because they had a great year, and making it to the conference finals is great, but losing they way we have been just plain sucks. Oh well, just like school, there’s always next year.

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

5 comments so far

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

5971 posts in 3375 days

#1 posted 06-06-2013 12:47 PM

Your story (blog) made me think back to when I retired. For a while whenever I drove past the plant that I once worked at I would feel a bit sad and a feeling of loneliness would come over me. But later when involved in a woodworking project in my shop those thought would be replaced with happy feelings, feelings of freedom to work in the shop at my leisure anytime I wish. But all this time on my hands, what should I do? Woodworking, Gardening and helping my kids and keep my home looking good. So far it’s keeping me very busy. Eventually those sad feeling were put in check and then I found this great site shortly after and a new life started for me. I still think about those days and all the guys and gals that I worked with, and I still get that sad feeling but it’s short lived. I still keep in contact with some of the friends I made but don’t see them often, they live very far away because we moved out of state.
When I graduated high school I miss my woodworking shop class and my teacher Mr. Goodwin the most. The shop always had something creative going on and it was the most exciting part of my school day, now that happiness lives in my shop!
I think every high school should teach woodworking or industrial arts, it builds a better well rounded person. Not to mention all the money you can save!
I hope you summer is a memorable one Tooch!


-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2992 days

#2 posted 06-06-2013 01:45 PM

Are there any vocational education resources around your location where you might be able to direct that “deserving student”.
My state, Tennessee, has local vocational schools all over the place. I went to one after high school to learn drafting and electronics. They had carpentry and nursing and welding and many other skills being taught as well. Was a great program. I went on to eventually go back to college at night to become an engineer, but the Vo-Tech school is where I started.

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 3126 days

#3 posted 06-07-2013 05:34 AM

Being in elementary school, the end of the year is a bit different. The kids just move down the hall and up a grade, unless they move away. I do see a few I keep track of who are leaving our k-8 school for high school. It is probably hard for non teachers to appreciate your comments. It is part of the cycle of our lives. I clean up my room tomorrow and get to play in my shop. I have craft/art shows about every 2 weeks this summer. I will be ready for a new batch of 7 year old students in August. Good luck learning the lathe. It is an enjoyable tool.
I have often talked to former students or strangers who have taken woodshop in middle school or high school. they enjoy telling me all about their experiences. Sometimes it is parents telling me about the cutting board they still have from their child’s woodshop time. When I took woodshop, my best friend built my project and I did his book reports!! When I had children and needed furniture, I taught myself. something must have stuck from class.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View hoosier0311's profile


706 posts in 2047 days

#4 posted 06-07-2013 06:08 PM

“This year’s recipient has done fabulous work all year long, in addition to the regular coursework he spent extra time building a really nice Mission Style coffee table, well deserving the check to invest in his future. However, I know that he has no plans on higher education, and the fact that his parents are divorced and his father (which he lives with) is an alcoholic, I don’t think he will spend it wisely. On one hand, he is the most deserving for the award, but on the other, if he’s not going to use it wisely would it be better given to someone who will?”

Tough call, but here’s how I see it. The kid has done great all year. The situation was not the best,,,but he still stayed focused on what he should. My feelings are that if he is the most deserving, then he should get it. If he fouls it up, well he fouls it up. What we learn in school is often lost on us at the time we learn it, but it comes back to us when our maturity allows for it to resurface. Seems like only then do we appreciate the efforts and commitment our teachers had. I had all the wood shop classes through school and vo-tech machine shop classes. After high school I built hot rods and perfected my wildness for about a year, then joined the Marines. I spent the next 8 years re-learning through the school of hard knocks what was available to me in high school. After I got out got married had kids and started woodworking all over again because it was the only way we could afford furniture and such. Took awhile, but I finally “got it” in terms of being a responsible adult. Have faith in the kid, he will be OK. I find it very refreshing to hear that you worry about things like that. You obviously care about your students, even after they move onward and upward. You sir, are a cut above the average in the most noble of all professions. A teacher. Thank you for taking the time to help our young ones grow and learn.

-- atta boy Clarence!

View Tooch's profile


1768 posts in 1898 days

#5 posted 06-08-2013 05:34 AM

thank you so much for the time you took to help me through this time. your thoughts and responses have been taken and I truly appreciate your insight

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

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