Photo by Megan Tieu

Mason teaches with hands-on projects

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Woodshop teacher John Mason want his students to learn from each other while having fun in the process. Having taught Wood Technology for over 10 years, Mason runs a self-directive class where students do independent work. He considers this the perfect learning environment.

Mason runs a Career/Technical Education class and teaches woodworking skills by having his students be hands-on with the materials.

“If you walk into my classroom, you [will wonder] what is going on,” Mason said. “But they’re all learning from each other. There’s always going to be a student who does better than others, [and] people like to show what they know.”

Mason constantly improves his lectures by making them relevant to the material and interesting to his students.  

“I try to research what I’m talking about [as much] as possible, and then I try to figure out what is interesting, because I don’t want to bore people,” Mason said.

Describing himself as diligent and friendly, Mason treats his students with respect, knowing that they will respect him in return. Freshman Johanna Sycip appreciates this independence given in Mason’s class.

“His work environment is really laid back, and he trusts his students,” Sycip said. “He doesn’t keep an eye on us like a bird or a hawk. He lets us do our own thing.”

In his teaching, Mason also encounters students with challenging lives and tries to change them by interacting with them.

“I try to turn that kid around and [make] them [a] happy, wholesome individual,” Mason said. “That’s what keeps me teaching.”

Mason believes it is vital to teach students how to handle hand tools, because their knowledge in it will be used in their adult life.

“Not everybody’s going to be a carpenter, but they’re going to live in a house, and there’s going to be home repairs,” Mason said. “They’ll [be] taking this knowledge with them for the rest of their life.”

Mason wants his students to learn in a safe environment. He does so by enforcing necessary rules, such as reporting any damaged equipment.

“I want [my students] to have fun, [but] I [also] want them to feel safe, and I want them to have the best knowledge they can of everything in here,” Mason said. “I want them to not be afraid of taking challenges and working.”

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