Saturday, April 17, 2010


One of the things that I really like about the class that I teach is that it is - by necessity - a small class. I'm limited by the number of boats that we can store in the barn we're allowed to use for storage. Because of this, this relatively small number of people in my class spend about 4 hours a week in each other's company learning a bit about each other.

We have a few "traditions" of a sort in the class that help build it into a tight-knit group. We try to work together when it makes sense. We have a 10 AM "Union Break" for coffee, fruit and baked goods of some sort where all the work stops and the tools go silent. I find that this is an important opportunity to let people ask specific questions of the teacher (me!) that all who are interested can listen to. They also have the chance to talk to each other about something other than the boat building process.

Because I have students who have different levels of boat-building and wood-working experience, I find that they share their experiences and that the experienced students show the others what is possible by example.

One of the more unique ways in which they build camaraderie is when we have a "double session" A "double session" is just that - we do two classes in the same day. This lets us get in that much more work as we only move the boats once for two classes worth of work. To avoid overwhelming everyone, we have a nice lunch break where we have the occasion to break bread together. Sometimes we just order out for sandwiches or pizza and sometimes we bring a pot-luck lunch. Personally, I prefer the pot-luck lunches - it's more personal than just ordering out.

Our class two weeks ago was a double session. Here are a few pictures of our spread:

From left to right - rosemary sourdough bread, salad, sweet potato casserole, turkey and roast stuffed pork.

Dessert was hiding just out of frame to the left. Behind the cups and silverware was a chocolate cake with bittersweet chocolate frosting.


The camaraderie extends beyond class - these students spend time together outside of class and even drop in long after they've completed their boats. We can only hope to build boats and community at the same time!


jbchicoine said...

Makes me want to take a canoe-building class :)

Canoez said...

Somehow, I think you're only interested in the food!