Waltz: the Woodshop wizard


Audrey Snider, Mirada Staff

Finding a career where you don’t want your work days to end is a life goal but not everyone achieves it, except for teacher Michael Waltz. Waltz teaches Wood Technology 1 and 2, and Introduction Engineering Design.

Waltz has been teaching high school students for 15 years and fell in love with it instantly.

“I tried it a little, I needed money throughout college and I loved it and it was easy,” said Waltz.

He took his teaching inspiration from his father when he was younger and learned how a teacher teaches others.

“My dad was a military officer and he trained people so he was always kind of a teacher,” said Waltz. “He couldn’t turn it off and he was like all the time teaching so I think I kind of got it from him.”

Waltz describes his love of teaching like never wanting the class period to end. He doesn’t want to look at the clock because he knows that time is running out for him to fit everything in.

“I’m always like ‘Oh! I hope it’s not over’ because I want to squeeze stuff in,” said Waltz.

Waltz enjoys teaching because it’s different for him each day. His classes have a daily routine of jobs to do but rotations and different activities keep each day exciting.

Waltz has a fairly free and easy-going class with jobs to do, projects to work on, and tasks to complete that day. It’s a quite independent and fun classroom.

“They don’t have to sit, they can move around, they can talk because most of the time we are working and I’m not going to say, ‘You can’t talk!’” said Waltz. “It is really loud in here so you can be a little hyper and you can be loud as long as you’re safe and do your job, you can have fun.”

He didn’t always know he wanted to teach engineering but most people don’t know too. It took Waltz through college to know exactly what he wanted to be doing.

“I was an engineer, that’s what I did before I was a teacher,” said Waltz. “Because I was in college being an engineer, as I was in graduate school getting a masters, that’s when I was first teaching to make money, and I was teaching engineering classes because it was what I knew, so I did always know but because of my career choice previously it was kind of inevitable.”

Loving something as a kid and sticking through with it throughout his life influenced his career choices.

“It’s always been something I enjoyed doing, like this is the kind of stuff I did with my dad when I was a kid was making stuff with tools and then that’s what I choose to do for my first career as an engineer.”

Waltz is passionate about what he teaches and loves what he does. He teaches woodshop and engineering with a smile on his face and a tool in his hand.