Creativity and Frustration

FIRST: I’m trying to get my Patreon back up to $900 a month. I am paid as well as the school can afford, but much of my teaching is funded by this blog. Support me as much as you can! Post about this project through your social media and on your Discords so I can keep teaching. What I do is important and I’m good at it.

The Makerspace is hitting its stride. The shine is off the new year, the weather’s getting crappier, and their brains don’t get any less hungry even if they’re slumped in a heap thumbing mindlessly through their phone in the hope that their brain will find the perfect potato chip to satisfy it.

One thing I’ve been wanting to do is introduce the kids to Gō as early as possible if they show interests in its principles.

Silvie and Oliver learning to play Gō during our class, Symbols and Change. The class is about how we use symbols to understand and change our world. Obviously, games are a part of that. Behind them is Juan, who’s developing a personal system of symbols to express something about his idea about his soul.
Oliver has been my student since he was 13. He’s 17 now. I’m so honored to be a part of his evolution. He’s been in almost all of my classes for the last three years. That’s two whole school days a week that I get to hang out with this kid. It’s wonderful.
This week was also the first day he was able to get his hair into a ponytail and I’m proud of him for experimenting like that.
Oliver has been thinking a lot about how perspective works. This is an entirely self-motivated project.
All tools and materials* are welcome in the Makerspace. At the request of another student, we have a set of nail tools and materials. Ariel here is doing my nails. She made a material choice that didn’t work, so we’re gonna have to go back and do it over again, just like everything else!

There are a few rules in the Makerspace, actually.

  1. No storage or release of an amount of energy that can kill a kid.
  2. No chemical explosives because they’re hard to control and I don’t have the requisite chemical knowledge. See 1.
  3. Nothing, even something that looks or works like a weapon, is a weapon for our purposes. Don’t hold tools like they’re weapons. Don’t treat your thing that looks or works like a gun like it’s harmless.
Lara is showing me how nail art works. This is unquestionably the most hostile set of chemicals in the Makerspace. We don’t have a hood. I ran it through the air filter, which immediately panicked at the air quality drop. We’re really, really hoping to be able to do something new with the Makerspace to get us better ventilation. It has never been more clear than with these materials.
This class is called Drawing animals and this is almost the first time in class we’ve actually done that. Everyone got excited about sculpture, so we did that for a few weeks first. The skull is a 3D printed one. When I left school Thursday, I left another one printing. I want to have enough around that students can use them whenever they feel like it. I have to find some good full body skeletons of humans and other animals, too.
Here’s Xander. He’s making his first LEDs light up, complete with a switch!
Several kids are interested in the 3D printers. This was our second attempt at printing a “spike” from Sylvie’s favorite video game, Valorant. The model wasn’t really designed for 3D printing so it had some extreme weak spots that imply strongly that this wouldn’t work as a physical object even at full scale. She carefully took the model apart, cleaned it up, and glued it back together. She’s interested in learning to design for print, too.
Randall designed this plane with another student in a few hours, starting from not knowing anything. It has some predictable weaknesses, but now we get to go from where we are, rather than from not having any experience to help determine a direction.
This is Charlotte, a brand new student this week. She’s making a tiny lightsaber on the lathe. Behind her is Garrott, who’s designing an Airsoft rifle for himself, starting with cardboard and a prebuilt mechanism. He’s having to learn about precision from scratch and it’s a really interesting challenge for me.
Yes, she’s gotta tie her hair back or use a bandana for the lathe. I’ve used up my store of spare hair elastics and need to get more.

Because, on this blog, I promise to never sugar coat things even when I’m having an absolutely amazing time with my students, I also want to note here that I’m having a hard time with a student who views all other humans with contempt, refuses to wear his mask right, and is quickly making himself a reputation in the school as a self-righteous boor, which of course is doing nothing for his sense of self value. What I find interesting is that he’s not incurious. He reads a ton, but seems to draw his opinions from regular YouTube bullshit. His communication is poor (you have to respect the other people in the conversation to communicate well) and that’s always the hardest problem to work on. How do you communicate with someone who refuses to communicate? And for whom conversations are something to be won?

I’m sure there will be more about him coming up. But I don’t want to give him more spotlight than other students just because he’s doing this Regular Teenage Boy Thing that I find simultaneous so familiar and so tedious.

So, go back up the Patreon!