This fall the Education Committee embarked on an initiative to revitalize IG’s shop space by attracting shop teachers who will teach shop classes on a regular basis and also maintain the tools. Here’s the original proposal I presented to the Board last April.
Summer Shop Classes Proposal
Many of our tools rarely get used. Our shop is not actively maintained. The makerspace is unused most mornings, afternoons, and weekends. Some potential members are intimidated by software and electronics classes, but are interested in shop and crafts classes. Potential shop teachers are unwilling to volunteer.
Solution Phase 1: A Suite of Summer Shop Classes
The edu committee is putting together a suite of summer shop classes that will be marketed as a group. Possible classes include 3D printing, laser cutting, woodworking, welding, and CNC. Some classes would be defined by project rather than a specific tool. We welcome ideas and class proposals.
Solution Phase 2: Incentivize Regular Shop Teachers
I propose the Board draw up a (non-binding) agreement to attract shop teachers who will teach classes on a regular basis and maintain the IG shop. The main attractions will be that teachers can make a modest income, and teachers can develop their respective IG shops, which is both a benefit to them but also a responsibility. Such an agreement might include the following.
IG agrees to:
–Advertise the classes, manage the schedule, and collect the money.
–Provide storage space for the teacher and student projects.
–Provide tools initially necessary for the classes.
–Pay the teacher a portion of the class fees collected (before student materials fees). This should work out to be between $10 and $30/hour depending on subject and enrollment. Edu committee already has this agreement with teachers but IG might guarantee it in some way.
–Reserve a portion of the class fees for additional tools, materials and maintenance budget specific to their shopcraft. The teacher can spend small amounts at their discretion, and buy larger items with Board approval. (The final portion of class fees would go towards IG expenses generally. Also, non-member students would pay an additional amount which would go to IG generally.)
–Give the teacher an Extra membership for as long as they are actively teaching. Make it possible for them to work on their own projects in the space.
–Not schedule competing classes, so that the shop teacher has some guarantee of a certain amount of income.
The shop teacher agrees to:
–Commit to teaching a regular shop class of a specified length and number of courses a year. Courses would be limited to a certain number of students. Courses would be held weekend mornings so as not to conflict with other IG events.
–Find a substitute if they can’t make it to a particular class.
–Help find a replacement if they can no longer commit to this agreement.
–Staff the makerspace a certain number of hours/week and be prepared to help members and students who want to work on their projects outside of class time.
–Manage their shop area, keeping it clean and organized with student help.
–Maintain the tools and improve the capabilities of the shop, drawing on their budget as necessary.
–Help with IG tasks (such as duties made more difficult by the additional classes).
–Keep careful accounting of their expenditures.
I further propose that after hammering out this agreement the Board conduct a search process this summer to pro-actively find shop teachers willing to make a long-term commitment to IG.