|Review by JuniorJoiner||posted 04-06-2011 07:07 PM||2122 views||0 times favorited||13 comments|
I want to start by saying I enjoyed myself and I think the students left with better hand tool and dovetail skills than they started with. I had many handshakes and smiles at the end, so I hope everyone feels that they got their moneys worth of instruction.
Now the critique. there was a critique form for the students, but not for me.
I had offered to teach a different class, but told them I was flexible if they needed something covered off, which I am. I received an e-mail some weeks later asking if I could teach dovetails, and provide a writeup, bio, and tool list, which I provided. They did not say I was on for the course.
Later, a friend sent me a congratulations e-mail saying he got the e-mail about the course I was teaching, it was the first I had heard of it (they only confirmed with me a week before the course). I looked at the writeup, they had changed my bio( not falsely, but added info I had not submitted). they had also omitted the tool list, saying it was a hands on course and all tools to be provided.
Having never taught there before, I needed to see the room. I stopped in, saw the benches, and informed on the particular cheap saw I wanted the students to have. I was told all was good and tools were in abundance.
No problems. I informed of my need for bench lamps, small chisels, and drafting pencils, and left.
So, about a week before the course, I find out , no pencils(too expensive), no bench lamps(no stock),
the small chisels would be narex(not worth the bottle caps they are made from), but lunch would be provided.
Hmm, this is where I start to wonder which will harm my sensibilities more, backing out, or teaching a class without the proper tools for the students.
So I go ahead, I’ve never backed down from anything before. I arrive early, knowing I will need to sharpen chisels for the entire class from new in an hour (not easy with the narex and their twisted backs). while I am doing that, I realize there are no clamps, how do you teach dovetails with no clamps? so , start a panic about clamps, they did manage to scrounge enough for the class, but most were from the return bin(one I had actually returned myself)
Students start showing up, I can’t greet them, I am still sharpening. I finish four minutes before the class is to start, and wash my hands.
So I start the class, nine of ten students show up, not bad. I start with getting names and where everyone is from, a short discussion on what dovetails are, why to cut them by hand, the tools, the material, then I start demonstrating.
I finish my demonstration just before lunch, get the students to start their layout, and start to put my checklist notes on the board. grab quick sandwich, and start answering questions and checking on progress.
The afternoon until 4pm was completely me helping students along, and I wish there had been two of me. There wasn’t really time to teach everyone how to saw a straight line and chisel against a guide block, So there were corrections and do overs. but everyone got the joint cut.
I have to admit, although many students had problems with poor light, waiting for tools to be shared around, and basic frustrations, I think they all enjoyed themselves.
If I were to do it again, I would ensure all students had a few jigs to ease the process with those benches, more tools for the class of proper scale and quality(not huge bevel gauges for dovetails) AND, proper light.
what I would do different would be to take a half hour for a sawing tutorial, as It would have been beneficial, and to have a handout of my notes and checklist, as time students spent copying off the board would have been better served working.
So, my conclusions from teaching a lee Valley class are to actively contact them to ensure all your class needs will be met. Never assume they will have something good just because they sell it. And stay patient.
Sorry I never took any pics.
-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.