Academic journal article Technology and Engineering Teacher

President's Message

Academic journal article Technology and Engineering Teacher

President's Message

Article excerpt

I have gone from teaching classes in which students are given a choice of projects to complete to one in which they are given problems to solve.

When I first made the decision to become an educator, I could never have envisioned becoming President of the international association representing industrial arts teachers, as we were known back in 1982,

It also would have been impossible to predict the changes that would take place over the years in my chosen career.

So, as I prepare to "take the reins" as President of ITEEA following the Kansas City conference, I have taken some time to reflect on how I got started in Technology and Engineering Education, the changes that have occurred throughout my years in the classroom, and where we are headed as Technology and Engineering educators.

Why Education?

My first experience with woodworking in a classroom setting was as an elementary student in a summer enrichment class. We were instructed in proper, safe work habits and proper use of hand tools and given some small projects to do. This was a great experience, and although I'm not sure if any of the projects survived more than a month or so, this experience really piqued my interest in taking similar classes in high school.

When I was in seventh grade, all the boys took "Shop," while the girls were required to take "Home Ec." In our small town school, we had a one-room "shop" with areas for woodworking, welding, and small engines/autos. Drafting boards were brought out in the woodworking area for our drafting classes. In seventh grade we learned the basics of drafting, while in eighth grade we focused on hand tools in woodworking. Ninth grade was woodworking with machines, and we were introduced to welding. There were associated elective courses that followed in these areas: advanced woods, architectural drafting, small engines, and advanced welding. This was also the era that brought in vocational education, with auto mechanics and carpentry classes offered at an off-school site.

During my sophomore year, my shop teacher asked if I would help with the seventh grade classes as a teaching assistant, I worked with students who struggled with processes. I was thinking of architecture as a career, but at this point the idea of becoming an educator began to creep into my thoughts. During a conversation about my TA work, my shop teacher suggested that I think about becoming an Industrial Arts instructor. By the end of the year, I had made the decision to investigate education as a career.

After high school, I began teacher preparation at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, later transferring to the University of Minnesota, Duluth to complete my college experience. At UMD the content classes were mostly still along the traditional Industrial Arts line. Woodworking, plastics, and ceramics were the mainstays of the college prep program. I had completed the metalworking and small engines content courses at Stout. All in all, my college preparation for Industrial Arts instruction was pretty much the same content I had gone through in high school, with a few "new" experiences thrown in.

How I Became Involved

Following graduation, I started teaching in a very small school district in central Minnesota that averaged about 30 students per grade level. I was teaching shop to students in Grades 7-12, with a two-period vocational construction course at the end of each day. This first teaching experience was like walking into my old high school shop. In one room we had woodworking, drafting, and home repairs, The curriculum was simple, based on the equipment available. In my third year of teaching I was given my first classroom computer, an Apple lie. At the time there was not much educational programming available for these computers, so it was used for word processing.

During this time, I became acquainted with some other Industrial Arts instructors who invited me to a UW-Stout Fall Conference. …

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