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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Teaching Classes

I was reading "my " blogs tonight and went to Jeanette Jobson's blog. I haven't been reading her blog very long, but I do enjoy it and she is a fabulous artist. Go have a look. Her February 26 post (I couldn't get that page to open on its own for a direct link to that date) was about classes. She was talking about no longer teaching weekly classes. Here is a quote, "The numbers of people attending are slowing, yet I still do the same amount of preparation work for minimal return."

This made me think of teaching classes myself and why I haven't taught many. People have asked me many times to teach classes. Especially when I was in the Guild. They have the idea that teachers just magically throw out their thoughts and instruction without preparation. Oh, how wrong they are! Maybe there is someone that has been teaching for fifty years and they can teach a class with their eyes closed. If there is someone like that, they are few and far between.

I recently taught a six hour class over two days. Preparation involved many things:

  • I spent several sessions on the computer researching pastel techniques and history.
  • I knew what I wanted to teach, but had to put the hows and whys together.
  • I prepared some cheat sheets with ideas on composition, color, value, pastels, techniques for using pastels, supports, pastels, etc. This was about 6 pages of information.
  • I made a lesson plan for how the time would best be used.
  • I planned a short demo for each day.
  • Gene helped me to cut foam core for folders and different papers to size for trying each kind.
  • I gathered equipment and supplies.
  • Gene and I carried my equipment to the studio and brought it back.

I would guess I put in 20 hours prep time for the class, maybe more, about triple the class time. This doesn't include my experience and knowledge that is stored to answer questions and give assistance. Or the time on publicity and coordinating with the interested artists. It was in a friends studio, so she did the prep time on the studio setup and cleaned up afterwards.

For someone that teaches regularly, I would guess that prep time would be similar. So if you have regular classes, that would require many hours of preparation time. Of course if you taught a weekly class to different people, your prep time would be less as you could do the same class over and over. This is probably rare also. I would guess that most students keep coming back to classes.

I enjoyed teaching the class and sometimes I wish I taught more. I learn from teaching. But .. I do not have the time or the dedication to be a regular teacher and do a good job. I would not do it if I wasn't prepared.

If you are a regular teacher, I applaud you. If you are a student, I encourage you to appreciate your instructor. (My students were very appreciative and kind.)


Anonymous said...

"I learn from teaching".

You said a mouthful.

I am so familiar with what I do, and do it so automatically, that to 'explain' it, so that someone could understand it, is quite the exercise.

I applaud you for teaching. You never know what 'little thing' you teach that acts as a trigger that can open a lifetime of enjoyment for an art student.

Jo Castillo said...

Thank you, Lesie. You have a great deal of a teacher in you as well. You explained it well on your blog a while back.

Thanks again.

Jeanette Jobson said...

Jo, thanks for the mention on your blog. Your preparation mirrors mine in so many ways and that of all teachers no doubt.

In some ways I feel I'm copping out by not teaching these tri-weekly (OMG that many) classes anymore, but there's a larger, louder part of me that's pushing me to self preservation and sanity and letting me bow out and accept my own limitations with almost a sigh of relief in some ways.

I will teach one offs and some online stuff thats in the works and perhaps some private lessons into the future, but I need time for me and can't do either my students or myself justice by being so pressed for time and energy.

Jo Castillo said...

Jeanette, I understand completely. There are not enough hours in the day. Don't know how you have been doing so much.

As Leslie said, you have helped and inspired! Thanks for stopping in.

About Me

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Bastrop, Texas, United States
I Grew up in a small town , Magdalena, New Mexico. I enjoy art and the pleasure other people get from my work. I always donate some of my sales and art to charities, especially for children. That started in Bolivia with Para los NiƱos. (Link on sidebar) "I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colors. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns." -- Winston Churchill


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