>Though I took ceramics in high school and college, I never learned how to operate and load a kiln.
When I first started teaching ceramics in public school I had also not learned to fire a kiln. The custodian showed me how to operate the gas kiln in the high school.
I taught ceramics over 40 years.
As part of the course requirements (in college) for the last 30 years each of my first term ceramics students loaded and fired the electric kiln and assisted with loading and firing the gas kiln. Advanced students were all required to explain and watch a beginning student to prevent accidents. I required that they notify me at the beginning of every firing and at the end of every firing. A few pots were broken. Nobody got hurt. No kiln was totally ruined. Students did the kiln repairs. The worst that happened was when an advanced student failed to notify me that he was doing a firing on his own and he failed to watch the kiln at the end and some glazes got over-fired and ran off the pots. A few ruined pots are very a small price to pay for a sound education.
I believe, with some creative adaptation and experimentation, much of this teaching system would also work at the high school and lower levels. Peer teaching, when well managed, can be a way teach more, and cost less.
If our good colleagues on this list do not fill you in on what you need to know to load and fire a kiln, you may email or phone me directly and I will be happy to help you out.