I gave my safety lecture with my cupped right hand brimming with blood and hidden behind my back. It was the tiniest cut on the pad of my ring finger, but it was from a broken shard of slag off the crucible. At one silica-molecule-thick, glass is the sharpest edge in the universe... so far. And, I had taken aspirin as a blood thinner that morning, so that one little tiny cut bled a good quarter cup before it was done.
Eventually, the blood started to overflow and drip onto the pavement, and a student noticed it.
"You're bleeding", he discretely murmured.
"I know", I replied "Consider it an object lesson".
It almost screwed up my speech, but either people did not notice, or chose not to. And I had practiced a long time on that speech. In front of a mirror.
Are you surpassed that I practice speeches? Well, I do. I'm trying to engage my students, impart the maximum information in the minimum time, and keep their attention from wandering. Like any performer, I hone my delivery and content, culling what doesn't work, keeping what gets a laugh, but more importantly, a laugh that drives the particular point home.
So, that bleeding threw off my touch and timing some. Parts where I thought would rivet them drew puzzled stares. Parts where I became alarmed at the bleeding through me off, but I got back on track and went through okay. I mean, that's why I practice my delivery, right?
My post-mortem of the Saturday bronze cast is that it went well, but I failed to allow my students to participate more. I know exactly why it happened. We had over fifty pieces, and some 560 lbs of bronze to pour, and me doing 85% of the heavy lifting meant that we got done in a timely fashion. We started at 9am and (I) went non-stop to 4pm, and I didn't want to go beyond that.
So... this time out, I pretty much was the attendant at the roller coaster ride. Not so much them casting their own pieces as me muppeting them into casting their own pieces. Normally, that doesn't happen. But like I said, we had a lot of shit to go through.
I'll remedy that for the next semester, and in fact, most semesters, I stand back and let them do the work.
On the whole, a very good semester so far. We had zero failures and minimal defects. Almost all pieces defect free, with those with defects being hot and cold tears of the metal, due to too thick an investment shell. Well, I warned them about that...
P.S. About the only thing that makes me happy lately, is staring down into the crucible and watch metal melt... which makes for some expensive therapy.
P.P.S. Not to brag, but I was informed by my students on Monday, that I ROCKED!!!