Navigating Proxima Centauri To Dry Dock

6/2 On our way to finishing the last BIG class I will teach until we’re on this year’s other side for 60 degree weather (an ideal Memorial Day for me, misty and chilly at night) — I already feel like I’m living on Proxima Centauri. So far this year, 134 (73 + 15 + 26 + 20) students have passed through my online classrooms. I asked you yesterday, what did they learn? “Logging on early” means a “working lunch”? You are apprentices, in a worker education program that values “hands on” as the primary mode of instruction: isn’t all that “virtual hands on” can be is a misnomer?

Here’s the schedule for the rest of the week:

  • Today (6/2): LCT Missing Sides. No notch counting. Less than does not mean the right sided alligator mouth. A penny nail will go through how far. Choosing the right drill bit when screwing.
  • Tomorrow (6/3): All assignments to date DUE 8AM. The first 45 minutes of the class will be “free form,” that is, any student can ask any question about any mistake they made on their homework.1
  • Friday (6/4): 2 hour assessment of first week trades math skills.

My biggest takeaway from our class yesterday was the connection made between “simple” and “complex” learning. Why I have made a life choice teaching trades math (besides respecting workers), is that, despite moronic public perceptions about “shop math,” it is easy to delve deep into a many millenium’d tradition. Trades math is real, many math classes are not.

We will experience this reality, first with LCTs, and then with nail penetration and screw holes. I know you can hardly wait. I can’t wait to finish this class and be that much closer to drydocking the ubercrawl for summer.


1 The apprenticeship tradition is like a personal conveyance, from the journeyman, to the apprentice. It stands to reason, therefore, that even in a virtual environment, individualized assessments should continue to be de rigueur in online apprenticeship programs. As I cycled through the 10 Breakout rooms yesterday, I sensed that for some, not having the same assessment as everybody else was a surprise. As apprentices, you should always expect that kind of value of/for you, another worker.

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