Shop class in high school

Our shop class teacher was a horse of a different color, to say the least. He was a real character. He had a big shop fan down at the end of the shop where the work tables were at. There was no on/off switch as it was hard wired in to electric and was run directly from a breaker, which was conveniently located at the opposite end of the shop. He would randomly switch the breaker off and wait for someone to come and tell him the fan had stopped working. He would tell them there was a short in the cord and to just wiggle it a bit and it should start back. He'd wait until they were tweaking around on the cord and switch the breaker back on. After a few minutes he'd flip it back off and watch the show unfold as a gaggle of kids would swarm that poor fan and, at first, try to gently finesse the cord. After a few minutes he'd flip it back on to give them a sense of accomplishment, then flip it back off again a few seconds later. After a few cycles of this the gentle finessing became yanking and jerking and then finally defeat as they would eventually just ignore it. Mr. Hale would just shake his head and go on. I was lucky enough to have earned his respect and was let in on these jokes early.

This is the same man who would have a kid come to him and say, "I cut the board too short" and he would respond, "Cut it again" and then laugh when the kid would take it back to the bench and try to remeasure it. Or, he would also send people over to auto shop for a "board stretcher". They would, of course, play along and send the poor kid back across a gravel parking lot pulling a 100lb transmission jack.

I remember once he told a kid that at the end of the year we had to take all of the bolts out of the metal on the walls to wash the metal and sweep up and saw dust that had gotten behind there. He told them that it was a fire hazard and was required by law. The kid did not believe him so to help with this I told the kid that I had been in charge of managing the screws as they were taken down and that I still had the list and would bring it the next day. I then went home and made a quick estimate of the number of screws required, divided that number up between 15 or so kids and wrote down how many each kid had removed and given to me. I also had a column showing how many each kid put back and made sure I was short by a few screws, which I told him my parents had to replace since I was responsible. I folded if several times in different ways, ground it into the dirt, got it wet and frayed it a bit and made it look really worn then gave it to him. He still said he didn't believe it, but you could see the worry in his eyes. LOL
"I just make saw dust and give away whatever is left over"


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