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JordanClarke
Posted: Tuesday, May 07, 2019 11:54:56 AM
Rank: Newbie
Groups: Member

Joined: 5/6/2019
Posts: 0
Location: California
Hello Fellow Woodshop Teachers!

My name is Jordan Clarke. I am a fourth year shop teacher in Bellflower, California. I came to this profession after many years owning my own cabinet shop, but seeking a lower stress and more stable cash flow way of life (including retirement). I love being a shop teacher. It's the best job I've ever had!

I joined this forum hoping to find others like me and share experiences and learning. I am always looking for ways to improve my craft both as a woodworker and as a teacher. As fun as the job is, like everything, it has its ups and downs; its challenges. I've never met a piece of wood that I didn't get along with, but kids, that's a different story.

I hope to get to know you all and that we can all learn and grow together. I also hope that others on here will respond and introduce themselves so I can get to know you all as well.
tbockman
Posted: Wednesday, May 08, 2019 9:45:59 AM
Rank: Newbie
Groups: Member

Joined: 11/17/2006
Posts: 0
Welcome Jordan! When I first came to this forum, it was alive with activity. That was well before the economic downturn. Many woodworking programs have since been shut down and many teachers I have known over the years have disappeared. Sometimes they will say they are going into retirement and sometimes it is simply that the program has been cut. Look at how long it has been since the last post besides my own. Nearly 8 months.

I started hearing from some of the many math or science teachers who were asked by their Principal to restart woodworking at their school after years of neglect. They often get into the shop and find it is almost too far gone and there are difficulties getting machines to work properly or finding materials on outdated budgets, so they are looking for ideas. I'm trying to help as much as I can by posting here.

To make a long story short, my own high school woodworking program was cut due to a lot of factors including economic pressure as our state legislators started cutting funds to public education. The fallen job market also contributed, such as cabinet shops going under. I managed to work at a few of these shops and knew the people well. One of my former students started his own shop and managed to weather this storm. I worked there for a short time after retiring early.

Then I got the call to help a small charter school build a program. Lucky for me, the cabinet shop lets me pick through scrap materials before they have a chance to go into the dumpster, so I have built this program with hardly any money, and almost no public funds. Maybe you are in this same boat or maybe you have been blessed with tons of new equipment and lots of money to run your program. Most of us can only hope to reach that level.

I have my own curriculum I can freely share. It's pretty good stuff. E-mail me by removing the red in the address below and I will send a few examples and tell you about how you can have the entire curriculum. I have much of it uploaded to google docs. I just need to remember how to get to it, but there are other ways to share it... however, most of it is too large for e-mail.

Here's one aspect. Everything in the curriculum is linked together so you don't have to fumble looking for the right video or handout when you show a PowerPoint for example. It's cool to use. My students have enjoyed it too as I also made them see historical things and show evidence of our links to the academic subjects Math, Science, and Language arts.

We in fact managed to ace the cabinetmaking exit exam that the state required for everyone who completed the program. We had the top state honors with the top test scores for three years in a row right before I was shut down. After that "failed Principal" was asked to leave, my former school tried to bring me back two years later, but knowing they were still cutting programs and staff, and since I had already found a secure niche at the Franklin Phonetic School (shown in my posts), I declined their offer.

Seriously, that was turning down a lot of money, but I ended up making a feast out of famine with some wonderful students here at this charter school. The successes have turned into them adding more days to my schedule until I was at a four day week, and also already collecting state pension. Who could ask for a better situation.

However, I can tell that I am getting near the end. I'd like to go a few more years but physical issues are beginning to take their toll. I'm not sure how much longer I can last. I need/want to pass along everything I have put together to as many wood shop teachers as I can. The curriculum has a first year Green Construction folder and an On-the-job program as well, just in case you have to also do the carpentry classes or get students jobs like I had to do.

You are right. It is the best job in the world if you are up for all of the unique challenges. 38 years and counting. Go wood shop!

woodshopteacherNOSPAM@NOSPAMcableone.net
JordanClarke
Posted: Wednesday, May 08, 2019 9:54:53 PM
Rank: Newbie
Groups: Member

Joined: 5/6/2019
Posts: 0
Location: California
Thanks for your response, TBockman! I sent you a PM about the curriculum.

I have been quite fortunate in having found a district that values the trades. I have also been lucky in terms of timing. Here in California, there is a big resurgence in CTE funding by the state. I have benefited from the CTE Incentive Grant, which has allowed me to rebuild and modernize my shop. I have a solid budget for materials as well that's not tied to grants.

With the exception of getting RIFfed last year, my experience has been 100% positive. That said, I have certainly heard stories like yours, even from folks in my own school. It wasn't always this good. I think there's growing recognition of the skills gap in the USA. I hope conditions stay strong for us in trades education and that we can retain and revitalize the remaining programs.

I am very interested in your curriculum. When I started teaching, all they gave me was a 16 year old textbook and best wishes. I have developed my own curriculum as I believe most shop teachers before me have done. One of the things I was most hoping to find here on the internet was a database or pool of knowledge accumulated by the hundreds or thousands of shop teachers out there. It's daunting to come into a shop, never having taught before, and invent your curriculum out of whole cloth.

If we are going to preserve these programs, we need more than just teachers for these shops (which is a tall order in itself). We are going to need to help them succeed by providing them with as much support as possible. I want to help others have an easier start than I did by sharing what I have come up with and by collecting as much content from others that I can and disseminating it.
tbockman
Posted: Thursday, May 09, 2019 9:56:01 AM
Rank: Newbie
Groups: Member

Joined: 11/17/2006
Posts: 0
I wouldn't know how to access a PM since this site doesn't support their messages section. I'm not sure what the issue has been, but e-mail me instead and I will send along some examples.

My first job didn't even include a text. I had a bunch of industry pamphlets at best. My second job included a 25 year old textbook I think from the 1950's. I also found some of the old Stanley posters from the 1960's. I've had to come up with almost everything and had a pretty good start before I found this site.

After being featured in both WOOD and American Woodworker magazines, the founder of this site called me. He really wanted me to start my own site, or rather a western alliance of teachers on this side of the country. I decided I had too many irons in the fire and chose to stick with posting here. That's when things got really exciting.

I started showing a few people my materials and after some of the teachers saw them, a bunch of us decided to get together on a curriculum writing/building project where we/I collected contributions and curriculum materials from everyone who could add stuff and then I spent several years building a product we all shared... including anyone who were early in and then wanted an update later.

Hey... I even had someone in Australia contribute, then someone from Ireland, many more from Canada, and tons from all over the US... and even one from South Africa. After the project ended, many more people asked for copies and gave more material. It grew quite large.

Unfortunately during that time I also became the focus of an on-line stalker who really tried to make things difficult. I took everything I had posted off this site. Let me know if you want to know how to do that. It is easier than you think to completely erase all traces.

I started over with a new name and laid low for a while. Then I came back when I felt I had something new to share. I mostly post in that same thread now. That's what I have to share.

I'll look into how to access google docs again. It's been quite a few months since I last uploaded and my memory isn't what it used to be, but I'm sure I can figure it out. Two people insisted that they wanted to share it that way. The biggest problem with google docs is space. I couldn't add everything without paying for the upgrade to more space, so it is a little limited.

The Green Construction, On-the-job training, and maybe even the CNC folder, and a few other things may be all that is missing. What I have been doing that is a successful way to share it, is having teachers send a self-addressed stamped envelop and a 64GB flash drive which takes me 5-6 hours to upload, then send back, so e-mail me and let's get you some curriculum.

The best part about the self-addressed envelop is that I can mail it from home and not go stand in line at the post office. That's all there is to it and then you have everything from that group with only a stamp and flash drive as your investment. Well, maybe a little time too since it's a comprehensive endeavor that you can go into and change it/personalize it to fit your program.

Just don't leave it behind if you leave that job. It will not belong to your school, but can travel with you to another school. Also, talk to me before you share copies. I like to keep track of what is happening with this material.

It's a couple of hours later now.... and I'm at school. I just got on google docs. It does have the CNC folder. It has all the woodworking folders. The links will not work from google docs viewer. I would be curious to know if you download an entire folder of the many that are there, will the links work inside that folder. Can you use the links to get to material during a PowerPoint presentation? I do know with a flash drive they will work perfectly. Let me know if you are willing to give google docs a try.
JordanClarke
Posted: Thursday, May 09, 2019 2:23:18 PM
Rank: Newbie
Groups: Member

Joined: 5/6/2019
Posts: 0
Location: California
Check your email. That's where I sent you the private message.
tbockman
Posted: Thursday, May 09, 2019 2:27:02 PM
Rank: Newbie
Groups: Member

Joined: 11/17/2006
Posts: 0
Nothing yet... try again.

woodshopteacher@NOSPAMcableone.net
JordanClarke
Posted: Thursday, May 09, 2019 4:05:01 PM
Rank: Newbie
Groups: Member

Joined: 5/6/2019
Posts: 0
Location: California
I'm supposed to remove the NOSPAM, right? I emailed you yesterday from my personal email account. I emailed you just now using my school email account.
tbockman
Posted: Thursday, May 09, 2019 5:08:18 PM
Rank: Newbie
Groups: Member

Joined: 11/17/2006
Posts: 0
Now it worked. I sent shared with google docs. Hope this works.
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