Friday, November 02, 2018

lately i've been subbing at a welding class where the teacher is "on leave," and we don't know when he's coming back. when i got there, big plugs were on the same floor as water from a leaking roof, and the principal said he wouldn't abide teaching welding in such conditions. the work order on the roof is supposed to be filled soon; in the meantime, i have a study hall. i try to keep kids' hands off the welding equipment.

the shop is large, with rooms for a desk and computer, and tables to pound out metal of various kinds. there are several closets, one with students' welding equipment, and some with various machinery. tools lay scattered about though people don't seem to be stealing them. they will, though, occasionally paint a wrench, or brandish a sledge on each other as if they are going to kill them. many have half-done welding projects. they have built the tables they use to weld on, and have actually drilled them into the floor.

so today this kid comes out with a gun. it's homemade from various parts of metal, to appear like a gun, and does, from a distance, but it's just a metal-welding project. it has a little metal shell, like a bullet, but it doesn't really shoot. so the kids are brandishing this around for a while, like they do with a stapler, a sledge, a yardstick, or even a metal shiv, and at one point they go outside but come back in immediately. in any case i go to tell the next class about it, and it's gone. maybe they have taken it. i go outside, and can't find it, though there's a veritable garden of metal sculpture out there.

i searched the whole shop, to no avail. either they took it, or hid it well. but one kid in the next hour claimed it was his. that kid wasn't too concerned that it was gone - if he'd wanted it, he probably would have hidden it better - but i continued my search. i couldn't believe that such a large, rifle-shaped object could disappear into thin air. into a truck, is more likely.

the heck of it is, they don't steal the tools, which were pretty much left sitting around on tables and everywhere. they are nervous, restless kids, with the tendency to get their hands on anything that sits around, but they don't generally steal tools. they do, though, steal each other's projects, according to one kid. projects are fair game. the tools, they need to keep on going.

what will happen to the welding program, i have no idea. i certainly can't teach it, nor would i try. i'm a temporary, sitting here, working on the computer, and breathing in metal fumes i suppose, at least for a few days. the kids enjoy their study hall, or at least their ability to move freely around an old shop, with high ceilings, old tools around, and lots of metal. there is, apparently, an issue of safety. i try my best to keep them from actually using the dangerous stuff on each other. they can do that without even thinking about it.


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