I remember woodworking at school. Given what I do these days as a hobby/passion, I guess it had some influence on the direction of my life.

Wonder what kids today are getting for their influences? I hope this isn’t just a photo from the past, but what can still be seen at schools around the country.

When I was at school, my first year of high school, I chose woodwork, metalwork and technical drawing as my optional subjects. The principal called my parents and me to his office for a chat. “He’s too bright to take three technical subjects. He needs to drop one, and take a language”.

So I did. I dropped metalwork and took German. I failed German both years that I took it, and became an engineer. Just what message are we sending our kids? Why are technical subjects treated as a placeholder for those not expected to transition to higher education?

I wasn’t able to continue woodworking through my secondary education (it just wasn’t available), but I continued with Technical Drawing as long as it was offered. Despite being regarded as a “non-academic” subject at school, it was still available to me at University, and for the sake of a single mark, it would have been the only subject at University that I got an A+ Wonder what direction my life would have gone if I hadn’t persisted with technical subjects?

It doesn’t matter what subjects our kids take, so long as they are passionate about them. They will take them as far as their abilities allow.

Lost Art Press

“Work is one of our most useful learning tools; children love to imitate adults at work. It is drudgery that needs eliminating, not work.”

— William S. Coperthwaite, “A Handmade Life” (Chelsea Green)

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3 Responses

  1. I did german in grade 8 and over the 3 major exams of the tear slowly got worsr SO also dropped it.
    I too did workwork, metalwork & tech drawing in grade 8; didn’t like woodwork at all.
    Did Fitting & Machining, General Engineering in the RAN but when I left the Navy went into engineering procurement & left the tools behind.
    Now I’m medically retired I do woodwork/toymaking for sanity, relaxation & a great deal of reward.
    It’s a strange wheel of life.,

  2. Jeff (…….) Kennet closed down Tech schools. Sometimes I still have a Kennet of a day.

  3. Brilliant picture of kid’s involved in their projects. Tools, bench, protective clothing, audience, Set-up photo… so what? It illustrates. Great stuff…teacher probably uses snuff/dust.

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