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a major breakthrough on the road to perfection

November 19, 2010

Last week I wrote about a student, Alice, who I thought was struggling a bit with perfectionism, or at least having more interest in grades than learning.

Recently I sent the following email to my classes:

Here’s a quick special offer for the first 3 students to write me back.

Keeping my with plans to make backwork fun, I’d like to teach 3 students how to solder tomorrow and make a minipov toy. What’s a minipov? Check this out:
I’ll get you started on how to put this together and show you the basics of soldering. It probably takes about an hour to put the whole thing together, so you won’t be able to do it all at once, but you will get the general idea tomorrow.
All I ask is that you bring some curiosity and willingness to teach some other students in the future. The minipov is free.
If you aren’t one of the first 3 to email me, don’t worry—we’ll do this again, and you will definitely get a chance to learn to solder.
So if you want to do this, send me a quick reply with why you want to learn to solder.
-Mr. B
Almost instantly, I got this reply from Alice:

I want to come!!I would love to discover something new, and try something that I havenever done before. After our mini conference, I am very open to tryingnew things, and I don’t have anything tomorrow afternoon, and I wouldlove to come!!Thanks,Alice

And today, I showed 4 students how to solder. It was awesome. We had a bunch of minipov kits left over from last year, so I pull them out and gave a quick lesson soldering and electronics. The kids loved it, and they started whipping through the assembly process (when we do this as a class project, the students drag it out to take more than a week). Multiple times, kids were saying—”this is so cool,” and “what else can we do with this?” and “we get to program these with a computer—awesome!”

And then this afternoon, I got this follow-up from Alice:

This was so much fun! I can’t wait to come back and finish mine! Thanks for letting me do this.

Yep, these are the days that I love my job.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Courtney Bellais permalink
    November 22, 2010 1:24 am

    I’m a student of Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama. I liked this post and think it is a great idea to get students involved with something they can learn outside of the classroom. I am definitely far from the perfectionist, but I do like learning new and interesting things. On the road to being a future educator I can only hope that I will have students interested and thrilled to learn new things!

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