Thursday, September 4, 2008

Almost Friday......

We introduced our little angels to the magic of above ground lifts today. An hour of safety and general instructions, followed by thirty minutes of Power Point photos and more notes..... and they took to it like ducks to corn.

Along with the theory came another task... and that makes a new task every day this week. The thing is... they haven't been finishing and handing in a task every day. That goes part way to explaining this special little fact I shared with them today... "This class has a roster of fifty three students, and THIRTY NINE OF YOU ARE FAILING AT THIS MOMENT!"

I do believe someone released a herd of crickets in the theory rooms, because all I heard were little chirp sounds. But then, all I saw were open mouths and the whites of eyes.

I think I got their attention. By days end I had a stack of finished work to enter in our grading software (g).

Looking on the bright side of life, we have already identified at least three exceptional students, and have talked to them about competition training. Another student, fairly sharp, has steadily remained caught up and asking for more. For him, tomorrow will bring a 42 volt 6 HP DC electric motor attached to a rear differential. I have a hankering for a 50mph electric go-cart, and he might just make me one (g). To be fair, I also have an aluminum frame and cage, a steering system, and brakes. The hard part will be controlling the motor. That will be his job to figure out how... I'd like to explore adding an electric vehicle component to our curriculum, so this will be an interesting exploration.

Today we also introduced them to Mr. Mop and Mrs. Broom..... and they did pretty well for teenagers. Most knew what 'dry mop' meant and very few tried to move permanently into the bathroom to escape the work.

90 degrees in the lab today, and no water fountain. Looking at how they drooped today, but never quit..... I took pity and bought two cases of bottled water to bring in tomorrow. For three hours they stayed at it.... so I guess we'll let them have some water. No reason to overdo it though, and keep it cold.

Tomorrow... a test. Their first real written test on hard core automotive subjects, and it was 100% self study. No theory from us at all. It spans seven chapters of the text book. That said, you would think they'd have jumped at the chance of a study group today, as our IU staff provided. Nope.... only six joined the group. I think tomorrow shall be an eye opener for them, as they face sixty questions that take logic and knowledge to answer. The ASE style TechA/TechB questions alone have been known to make grown men cry. Not one 'how do you feel about cars' question in the batch......

Next week, in addition to everything else, we collect binders for midterm grading. Neatness, organization, quality of notes....... all things they have probably never been graded on before. It counts the same as a large test in with us.

I expect the Midterm grade reports will cause some serious teeth gnashing and caterwauling. They are slowly coming to grips with what they have gotten themselves into, and still only one or two look like they might quit. Another program has lost 20% already...... and ours won't quit. Damn.

At the rate they are eating this up, we can begin precision measuring in another week..... and that is days ahead of schedule.

Not bad, considering my fears as the year started. I am cautiously optimistic about this class..... but as the saying goes "A new broom sweeps clean".

We shall see.

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