Why do shop classes matter?

Why should students take tech ed classes?

The sound of the last piece of wood getting cut on the table saw, the banging metal sound coming from the sheet metal shop, the buzz of the ark in the welding shop as it fuses two pieces of steel together. These are just a few of the many sounds you hear in the shop hallway at BHS, lined with a display case with fish in a pond,  a cardboard conveyor belt, and all the way down a case of model cars.

The classrooms down this hallway are home to shop teachers Troy Hanson, Benjamin (Wad) Wadamacher, Kurt Konsela. They teach classes that range from introduction classes like Intro to CAD (Computer Aided Drafting), to college-level classes like CIS Auto Service and Maintenance. Students from every grade are able to take shop classes, although some are limited to sophomores and up. 

“I have taken sheet metal fabrication and automotive engineering so far, I’m looking forward to other shop classes,” said Nolan Russell ’27. “I take shop classes because you can learn more to help you out with a later career that you may want to go into.” 

Many students don’t know about all of the shop classes BHS has to offer. Because students are required to take so many core (English, Science, Math, Social Studies) classes, they don’t want to take shop classes. Students tend to get their required classes done first instead of trying out electives.

“It’s something different everyday,” remarked metal shop teacher Wadamacher. “It’s not a textbook curriculum so chapter one isn’t day one and chapter 49 isn’t day 49. There is a high demand right now for any type of technical field via auto mechanics, plumbers, welders, blue collar type jobs and shop classes give you some of those necessary skills.” 

BHS doesn’t require any sort of shop class to graduate, so a lot of people don’t take any or only take a couple. 

“I do think [shop classes] will benefit me because it teaches you a lot of neat things that you can do without having to hire someone. Like if you had your own welding machine and you needed a little piece of metal welded you could do it yourself,” comments Scott Husom ’24. “I think people should take more shop classes. There’s really no reason that it’s going to be a bad thing for you. Unless you know that’s not the path you’re gonna go down in life, I would say shop classes are a great option.”

With the change to trimesters and a five hour schedule,  the number of classes per year changed from 16 to 15, leaving one less spot for electives, including shop classes. Teachers are urging students to take the time to try new things, like a tech ed class. 

“I find that it’s enjoyable because you get to see students produce something and learn new skills,” said woods, robotics, and technology exploration teacher Hanson. “For the most part, it’s enjoyable. It’s challenging at times because you get students with so many different skill levels coming in. You’ll always learn something new in class, from measurement, to how to use tools and technology. Just getting that comfort level with things that you might use later in life is important.” 

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