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Student Responsibility

Was "Pickle tongs"

Thanks for the suggestion, Dee. However, I teach at two community
art centers, and its pretty impossible to “get tough” with people
taking recreational classes. Enrollment is not super high, and the
art centers don’t want to charge any more for fear of driving off
students. I long to teach a college-level class in which I can
insist that students take care of their studio, and that they learn
to do things properly, even if they’re willing to fix a crack below
a bezel with glue. (I can just hear all the gasps of horror. It was
pretty hard for me to swallow, but I can only try to “urge”, not
insist, except on issues of safety.) So if anyone has methods of
persuasion that might encourage better care, please share!


Hi Noel,

Your own work is so good. Have your rec students SEEN some examples
and heard you describe what makes good construction? An even better
visual aid would be examples of poor work alongside your good work
… but I hate to suggest that you intentionally create such stuff.
Maybe a magnifying glass to help them see the details?

I recall having a secretary once who had the most abysmal
handwriting… untill she got new glasses!! She simply couldn’t see
well enough to write better.

Have you ever taught 7th & 8th graders? They could drive you to
lunacy. Hopefully adults don’t do that.

Judy in Kansas

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
B.A.E. 147 Seaton Hall
Kansas State University
Manhatttan KS 66506
(785) 532-2936 FAX (785) 532-6944

I teach at two community art centers, and its pretty impossible to
"get tough" with people taking recreational classes. 

Oh. Been there. You have my sympathies. How about offering free
bench time to the student who shows the most proficiency in using
the equipment correctly and giving her/him a chance to help show the
next batch of newbies individually how to correctlty handle the
tools they are working with. Is that type of reward (bribery?)


  Have you ever taught 7th & 8th graders?  They could drive you to
lunacy.  Hopefully adults don't do that. <G> 


We had Kids Camp with 11-14, which I believe is in the 7 & 8 grade
range. They were great. Now the adults…that is something else.

What I find with adults is that they are destination driven. In a
ten week beginning jewelry class, the need for them to have a band
ring on their finger is so great, that they won’t listen to anything
else until they can wear it out the door. I TOTALLY get Noel’s

Karen Christians
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio

I too teach adults in an art center. I am the so called head of the
department and I think that I must be the biggest nag in the whole
center. I am rather territorial and money conscious so I get quite
annoyed when pliers disappear. Our collection of files is not good
enough to walk away so they are not a problem. I have the advanced
students for the most part and most of them have a lot of tools. So
much so that they have to wheel them into the class on carriers.
These people put back what they use where it should be and are
respectful of the tools. I think that the other instructors talk
about it to students but probably don’t get as cross as I do when I
can’t find something. The center also has “open studios” where there
is no instructor but monitors who want to do their own work. I
understand this and if I did not have a home studio, would be the
same way. Anyhow, some of the carelessness must happen during these
studios. The room because of having some flat tables is also used by
classes that are not metal oriented. I don’t like leaving any part
of equipment out that can be possibly locked up.

It’s a very different mind set when you work with students who do
not have to be there and you need to be understanding. Through the
years I have watched skills and creativity flower in those that I
teach and find it beautiful.

Marilyn smith

Thanks for the kind words, Judy,

You’re right-- I constantly have trouble with students who can’t see
well enough to do detail work (like putting a small piece of
solder on a seam and seeing it melt and flow). I tell them quite
clearly that they won’t be able to succeed if they can’t see what
they’re doing… evidently, they’re hard of hearing as well ;>).
There is also truth to the idea that they can’t “see”-- i.e., they
have not yet educated their perception to sort out the differences
that make work good.

But I also think that the average adult comes to class convinced
that crap is the best they can do. When they see my work, they don’t
consider themselves in the same category, or the quality of it as
their own potential, any more than someone who takes a first aid
class expects to repair a torn ligament. If they get “hooked”, then
it is generally (though not always!) a different story.

Yes, I have taught 7th and8th graders, and, yes, they can make you
nuts, but, truthfully, I love teaching kids. They’re usually
absolutely fearless. And the most difficult, challenging ones are
the ones in whose lives my little rec class may actually make a
difference, so in a way I love them most of all. After all, they
need it more.

If nothing else, I know my students get exposed to methods of
thinking that may not be familiar, especially creative
problem-solving. I brain-storm aloud how to do something they come
up with that they’ve never done, and maybe they take something of
that away with them, even if they’re metalsmithing skills are

But all of that still doesn’t make them put their stuff away, or
refrain from dropping a $40-hammer on the cement, or running saw
blades through the roller mill (ouch!)

Uh, what was the question?