Thursday, May 28, 2015


The year at Stanford grade school started smoothly due to the competence of its teachers, most of who had been there many years.  The experience of principle Bill was valuable too.  He was easy to get along with and worked closely with the teachers and the curriculum.  I appreciated his help in getting started and I enjoyed the children.  They were country kids for the most part and hadn’t developed the sassy attitude I remembered of some Washington Grade School kids I had known when I attended the eighth grade in Miles City.  I was able to keep up with the math classes by doing my homework evenings, and survived social studies.  The problem area for me was Industrial Arts.   It was held in the basement where a massive amount of old furniture was stored.  There were few tools to work with and no supplies.  Bill said I had a small budget to purchase startup supplies. 

I decided we would work with small projects after studying a unit on the main tools and construction methods.  Thinking back to my experience in eighth grade Industrial Arts with Mr. Metros, I felt the students needed to get their hands on a project, early in the class to hold their interest.  We used the wood from old desks for three piece book ends.  Vertical and horizontal pieces of wood were held together with screws which challenged most of the students. The third piece of wood was placed in the middle of the two pieces as a brace and could be designed by the student as a dog, horse head, etc.  I made a sample for them to follow, or modify as long as they didn’t completely change the assignment.  Most of them copied my model exactly.  A few had the creativity to work a different design into the third brace piece.  We got off to a good start until our basement shop cooled down as the fall weather turned cold.  Work we glued fell apart when clamps were removed the next day.  It was a valuable lesson for everyone and the solution was to put our glued projects in the furnace room to dry.

Taken from "Which Road Should I Follow?, Volume 2, Roles and Responsibilities of an Educator", an autobiography by Edwin K. Hill.  

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