Saturday, 1 February 2014

Construction gym

Mr. S and I share the teaching of  City and Guilds Construction to year 10's and 11's. It's full of lads who hate all of the rest of school and just want to get on with cutting, smashing up or joining things together. Officially we teach them carpentry, plumbing and painting and decorating. Unofficially we teach them things they need to know about getting jobs and how to be decent blokes in the real world.

There is no exam for this course. It's all practical units but with six hours per week there is scope to take our time teaching things well or going the scenic route now and again. We've taught them for instance one of the most important skills required on any building site. How to make tea. This unit included how to take tea orders, good tea vocabulary, how to make a good strong cup of tea and how often it's required to make it. These lads will go far.

This week Mr. S decided to give them some practice hammering in nails. This then developed into what has become known as Construction Gym. The 20 nail bash head to head race was first. A great competition with some surprising results. Underdogs had a good day and gained loads of confidence. We were practically rolling around on the ground laughing by the end of it.

Yesterday I expanded it with the plywood saw speed test. How many lengths of plywood could they saw in 2 mins with a panel saw. A real arm burner this one. 

Now this is not strictly the safest exercise I have ever done with a class but sometimes you need to relax the rules. So its Friday period five the week is winding down and we are settling down to round two of construction gym. I have a compilation of Rocky training videos on youtube (Getting stronger) on the big screen blaring out to get them in the mood.

The first lad is about to cut and I'm standing there with stopwatch when in walks one of the Senior Leadership team. Dangerous competition to violent movie soundtrack doesn't have a great ring to it so I quickly change plan. I decide that the speed element of this cutting task isn't for his eyes and instead I decide that each person is going to cut a practice length and I give them some pointers on good technique etc. This seems to work as he is smiling as he watches. He does seem a bit confused mind. As I usher the second lad up to the workbench he nearly ruins it by saying "But sir I'm watching Rocky fight" rather than taking the saw. 

Eventually he leaves bemused and we are left to finish the competition in peace. I expect there may be some sore arms this morning...

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