My Own Tools


blog post
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This didn’t happen in my class.
But the student was in one of mine.
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Mal Content was in my third period technical drawing class. I knew him from when he was in my junior high general shop and mechanical drawing classes. Even then Mal had very little few positive comments about anything. His auto shop class was the period before my technical drawing session. Several times over a period of a few weeks at the beginning of the year he complained about the auto shop class.

The auto shop teacher had loaner tools for students who wanted to work on their cars evenings or weekends. One of Mal’s complaints was that there weren’t enough kits to go around and Mr. Otto just didn’t understand his need. Mr. Otto encouraged his students to have a purchase plan for their own tools. And told them about getting his first tools with earnings from doing engine minor work for family and neighbors.

Mid-week I asked Otto if Mal had been in his class the prior two days because I thought I had seen him before school on Tuesday and he missed my class then and that morning. Otto told me Mal was in juvie (juvenile detention).

The rest of the story:

Sometime between Friday evening and Sunday afternoon Otto’s truck had been broken into and his toolbox was taken. On Monday morning, Mal announced to other students that he had his own tools and wouldn’t need to check out loaners. Mr. Otto hadn’t told his students about the missing tools, but one who was his neighbor knew. That student told Otto about Mal’s brag sometime before the end of class that Monday.

Otto set a trap by saying something like, “So I can make up better loaner kits, I’d like to see what individual tools you need supplement your personal tool kits. And I can make suggestions for what tools you might need to add to your own. Tuesday morning each student who had tools spread them out on one of the benches.

As I was told, Mal puffed up a little and said, “Finally, I have my own tools.”


A small logo on each of the tools Mal displayed told Mr. Otto who had broken into his truck.
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