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MAKE Asks: is a weekly column where we ask you, our readers, for responses to maker-related questions. We hope the column sparks interesting conversation and is a way for us to get to know more about each other.

This week’s question: We’ve all had teachers along the way that have inspired us. How has a teacher (or teachers) inspired you as a maker?

My High School physics teacher, Al Levik, was a former aeronautical engineer who dropped out of the industry because he was sick of helping to build killing machines. However, his real-world experience infused his teaching style with practical examples of the concepts he put across.

For our final project in AP Physics, the students were given carte blanche for final projects. A few students built potato guns, but I decided to rewire a gutted electric guitar I had sitting at home. Al was a guitarist himself, and was really into the project. He helped me lay out the schematic, and taught me the finer points of soldering. I’m forever grateful for it.

Post your responses in the comments section.

Michael Colombo

In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens’ educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.


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Comments

  1. chuck says:

    I owe so much to Mr. Shettle and Mr. Fuchs from Brandon Sr. High School in Tampa, FL. On the first day of class Mr . Fuchs met us at the door with a handshake and a job application. He played the straight laced old school shop teacher to a tee. He sat there for 15 minutes reading through our applications and then announced that he wouldn’t hire any of us. He told us that by the end of the semester he would do his best to change that. As a young punk I thought he had a 2×4 lodged in his nether regions. On the last day of class he did the hand shake and application routine again and then announced that some of us were actually hirable now. I gave him grief but he didn’t just teach us how to use tools, he taught us how to work safely, speak the language and work with others in a shop situation. I use the things he taught me on a daily basis.
    Mr. Shettle was the good humored woodshop teacher who actually treated us like men and gave us the leeway to explore and create whatever we wanted. His enthusiasm and support showed us that with the right tools and training we could build whatever we could imagine. He helped me build my first musical instruments and sparked a lifelong passion for tools and creation.
    I graduated in 1990. My high school no longer has shop classes. Few schools in my county do. One of the magnet schools with a shop program had to shut it down when they lost their teacher and couldn’t find a qualified replacement. This breaks my heart. These two great men did more to make me a productive member of society than any other instructor in my entire school career.