Liabilities for teaching machine shop
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  1. #1
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    Default Liabilities for teaching machine shop

    I'm in a position to take a job with a local community college as a part time instructor. The class I would be teaching is Introduction to Manual Machining. This is part of a Manufacturing program that is brand new to the school.
    The classes will be taught by multiple instructors, all part of a pool of part time instructors. A CAD teacher, a Manual Machining teacher, and a CNC teacher.
    I have a lot of concerns, biggest one is personal liability for an accident where a student hurts himself, which is highly possible for a beginner in a machine shop.
    The school doesn't have any classroom setting more dangerous.
    I've done a lot of reading, and bottom line, a teacher can be sued along with the school. The minimal hours offered for the position, 5 hours class time/week doesn't justify teachers liability insurance which I'm sure is not cheap for a position like this.
    Anyone else hear have any experience or knowledge of my concerns?
    Thank you.

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    I'm losing sleep over this whole thing. It's now 2:30 AM.
    My gut feeling is that the job is not worth it.

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    I have been teaching manual machining at a university ( which is really a community college in disguise) for many years now. Fortunately there has not been an accident any more serious than a couple of band aids couldn't fix which is good! If your situation is similar to mine, meaning young people are the same everywhere, than this could be "Not worth it" for different reasons. Here in Indiana industrial arts has been almost completely done away with....too costly, too dangerous, etc. In my view (opinion) young people have been raised on video games and other electronic TOYS, YES TOYS (cell phones)and they are victims of "instant gratification"....The attention span of an average 18 year old today is "Nill" Kids really don't care much about learning, they want a piece of paper (degree) and a high paying job with clean hands at the end of the day. There have been some rewarding moments in this line of work but please be prepared for what is inevitable in the classroom of let's say 20 students......There may be 2 or 3 that are prepared and actually give a Darn about their future, you will not reach or get through to more than half AT BEST IN ANY GIVEN SEMESTER!!!!!
    It is this frustration that is not worth the fight ….Spend 2 hours getting a lecture and demonstration ready for example single point threading on a lathe including grinding the tool, cutting and checking the threads, etc. and then 5 to 10 minutes in, they are all fiddling with their cell phones. I know, you say " Make them all turn off their phones"...That's fine... make them do this, make them do that.....you will simply become a baby sitter to a bunch of "adult children" and then Administration will directly or indirectly tell you that you just need to work harder to help them succeed. I used to be proud to say I was a Technology Teacher, anymore if the subject comes up in conversation about teaching I reply that I really can't call myself a teacher because teaching implies learning and I see very little evidence of any learning taking place.
    This is harsh I know but after more than 30 years of exposure to this, I THANK GOD I ONLY HAVE A FEW MORE YEARS UNTIL RETIREMENT!

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    My thoughts exactly! I just finished my AS degree last Fall to qualify for the position. I have 50 years experience in the trade including 2 years of California State College majoring in Manufacturing Processes but I didn't finish to achieve a Bachelor's degree, the reason I went back to school last Fall, at 66 years old.
    I had more than enough credits from the state college to satisfy the required credits for the AS, degree, but the community college required that I complete 12 units in their school to receive a certificate. I could have taken any classes I wanted to earn the 12 units butI chose not to take easy classes, like basket weaving, instead I took Business, Business Law, Group Communication and Philosophy. It turned into a full time job! I ended up with a 4.0 mainly because I wanted to make an impression that I was serious to the Dean who would ultimately hire me.
    The curriculum was set up for the manufacturing program by an instructor from a neighboring Community College. Someone ordered machinery and cutting tools out of a catalog is my impression. I interviewed and saw the shop last May and I was supposed to be called in in June to go over the details. It never happened.
    The Fall semester is in 10 days, there are 25 seats available and 5 students signed up for the class. The class is of course a prerequisite for the rest of the program.
    This county that the Community College is in has only one major manufacturer.
    I've heard nothing from the Dean, who basically said I had the job, pending HR hiring procedures.
    I am really beginning to wonder if anything will come of their manufacturing program.
    I was told that the facility and most of the machinery has been there for a year. I believe it was a Federal grant that gave them the funds. The bulk of the money was spent on several vertical CNC machines and a CNC lathe, all Hass.
    I'm not sure if they have measuring instruments or even a surface plate.
    My biggest concern is that I'm not sure if the administration understands what a manufacturing program entails.

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    And I was amazed at the disrespect given instructors by students when I was in school last Fall. Cell phones, sleeping in class, eating food which the school allows, and coming and going as they pleased. Absent students on a regular basis, I had a class cancelled because there were next to no students, one young smart aleck told a teacher he could go to the Dean and get her fired!

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    I can't help much with the liability aspect. I think that would be a good question for the people who are offering you the position and maybe for a lawyer.
    I can say that I have been teaching for a local CAM reseller in my area for nearly 5 years. The clientele is slightly different than what yours would be and the potential for injury is obviously different . However, many of my students are younger than 25 I would guess and some are coming from the same pool of people as you would deal with. I teach as a side gig....probably around 100 hours per year.I took the job because I felt my life and career had fallen into a rut. I am so glad that I took it. It's easy to fall into the "this generation" trap. There is much about the younger generation(s) that I find off-putting, But lets not fool ourselves every generation has its share of lazy people that are looking to be a PIA. The question then becomes what are you doing about it?
    I honestly feel that there are probably 10 students per year I have a large impact on their careers and an equal number that got the same as if they had sat there reading a cereal box every night in class.
    Cell phone use is one issue I tackle on night #1.
    " I respect you enough to not use mine during class, you do the same. If you need to use it during class....step into the hall"

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    In the school's catalog, the class has TBA under the instructor category. To be announced. The class is supposed to start in 10 days. I'm wondering if 5 students even meets minimum requirements to start?

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    Trian well, supervise, kickout the suckers, and dont let fear run your life. If your in a position to get sued you probably failed as a teacher. I'm not trying to be a dick. You just need to good procedures and equipment.

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    I'm curious. Are you a teacher?
    Aejgx6

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    No. The liability you are worried about also applies to everyone in a shop setting training employees.

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    Tell the school to pay for your insurance or tell them to pound sand, simple choice.

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    If you are teaching a elective class or a class that is directly related to their major then students tend to listen because it is their choice to be there. Being an english 101 teacher I imagen would be rough.

    As far as sleeping in class, some may be lazy assholes, some may work the 3am to 8am shift at Fedex before coming to class and don't get back home until 10pm cause "that one class" is only offered in the evening. Others may be working a 50 hour work day before coming to class. None are great reasons to sleep in class but it's not all because they are lazy.

    As to the concerns about injuries, After got an industrial tech degree I was a classroom assistant (lab monitor) for welding and machining on and off for 5 of the past 10 years and have never seen an injury that required more than a bandaid. If someone does something unsafe the whole class gets 1 warning an after that they are done for the evening. If it continues to be a problem, they are removed from the class (never seen it go that far).
    Last edited by kenton; 08-15-2019 at 11:11 AM.

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    I think there is reason to be concerned about liability. We live in a litigious society. Just for the hell of it when I was laid up with gout watching day time broadcast TV I decided to start counting the number of the overwhelmingly common ads for personal injury lawyers. As you know these days there are 18 minutes of ads per hour. Some of the stations had up to 20 ads an hour for lawyers, and it was many different law firms.

    Just because some inattentive idiot has an accident doesn't make who taught them a bad teacher. I see people weaving all over the road while texting, does that make the person who taught them how to drive incompetent? People married to their cell phone is an epidemic. I no longer have employees, but when I did I have had them check them right in the middle of getting an explanation on how to run a machine. What I find odd is I know a lot of parents who have no issue with a kid having their face glued to a cell phone 24-7. It seems people who hire these types in entry level jobs are more like babysitters and parents than supervisors.

    I do think having the same issues with community college students goofing off as with high schoolers is odd as they are there voluntarily and should be eager to learn, I guess not. Good luck if you take the job, I would insist on the school insuring itself and providing insurance for the teachers. Just because it is 2019, we have a litigious society and a slew of idiots that are an accident looking for a place to happen.

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    My concerns exactly. You can't individually monitor every student's move. No matter how careful you teach, I'm just pretty sure someone will run astray. It's human nature.
    And of course administration doesn't accept the fact that you are doing everything by the book and instructing by utilization of 50 years of experience when there's an accident.
    Beyond liability concerns, what is the longevity of a Manufacturing program that has only attracted 5 students for a class due to start soon?

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    You may want to start the semester with a "safety and check out program". Several years ago when looking for a new surface grinder for my shop it was suggested I take an evening course at the local technical college. They have at least a dozen different makes and models that can be used on a daily basis by the students. The first day of class the instructor went through a safety quiz. Anyone scoring less than 100% on the quiz was watched more closely.

    When it came to operating machinery the instructor went through the basics, then supervised each student as they attempted to run the machine. If the student checked out on the machine they were allowed to run it with minimal or no supervision. If they had problems they were only allowed to run it when being supervised by the instructor

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    Back in my college days, I took the "Intro to Design and Manufacuturing" course, where the engineering students were put into teams of 4, told to design and build a simple mechanism to launch a tennis ball, or hit a golf ball, etc. given 3 1-hour training sessions in the student shop (manual lathes, drill presses, band saws, and bridgeports) and told not to get themselves killed.

    Having taken the whole series (3) of such classes, I only saw one accident, and it wasn't even in the shop, it was the assembly area. Some genius decided that he didn't need to take his part over to a drill press in the shop, holding it in one hand and a cordless drill in the other would be just fine. As far as I know, he recognized his own idiocy when the hole showed up in one of his fingers, and the instructors were never held liable for anything.

    Just keep that in mind. Even if something does happen, most human beings want to behave like human beings, and the few that don't are the ones remembered through sensational news reporting, the bias of memory, etc.

    Edit: not that I'm against having your rear end covered from an insurance standpoint, just that I think the "worst case" dominates your worries, and that advice has already been covered. If you step back and take a deep breath, you may find that it's not all that likely to happen if you do right by yourself and your students.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rewt View Post
    Tell the school to pay for your insurance or tell them to pound sand, simple choice.
    Exactly what I was thinking. Otherwise, there is simply too much risk.

    Ex: New student leaves key in chuck and pops off a finger..........you are the stuckee.


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    Thanks Newman109
    That's my worst thought, but to easy to have happen with beginners.
    One place I worked decided to put the janitor on a Bridgeport. Started it up more than once with the wrench on the drawbar!
    I've seen Chuck wrenches slam across the room, and parts fly out of chucks and off magnetic bases on surface grinders. This was in industrial settings. Imagine a bunch of newbie kids.
    Maybe I am thinking of the worse that could happen, but maybe someone needs to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rewt View Post
    Tell the school to pay for your insurance or tell them to pound sand, simple choice.
    I am not certain....but I believe the school will have something in place.
    I think you need to ask some questions and get some answers. Alot of speculation at this point.

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    I still have all of my fingers by the way.☺️


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