I didn't expect to love teaching.
I used to see instructing as standing in a sterile, beige room filled with desks, and proceeding to deliver a never-ending group presentation.
But it isn't like that at all.
Teaching is whatever you want it to be. Teaching is like art; you get out of it what you put in.
Teaching is like art; you get out of it what you put in.
The secret is, when I started teaching, as stupid as it sounds, I didn't really realize the students that I was about to stand in front of for a semester were people .I had taught small workshops before, so I should have known better, but there's something about a classroom setting that threw me. When you go to do a class presentation, your classmates aren't really acting like people. They're bored and you're limited on how you can engage them because your presentation is about a grade, not about communicating or exchanging information. That's the difference between class presentations and teaching. Ideally, teaching is a conversation with each student that expands over time. What I didn't realize was: sharing knowledge is really like parting the ivy along a covered wall and revealing a galaxy. You feel mythic. And, teaching one-on-one is pure magic---there are no distractions, just two souls and a body of work.
Sharing knowledge is really like parting the ivy along a covered wall and revealing a galaxy.
You feel mythic.
Teaching is a brief moment in time where you feel transformed into an open book, vulnerable but confident. Teaching is about being a friend, not being an enforcer or a jailer. It is a collaboration, a liberation.
I didn't expect to like it.
I didn't expect anything remarkable.
And that was foolish of me.
Art is an amazing space we hold within us. It's private and delicate and often beautiful. And teaching new artists, I should have expected an extraordinary experience, where I got a glimpse into the private, beautiful worlds of art within each of my students.
Because that's what it was.
I should have expected to feel like a young biologist standing in the rainforest for the first time.
I should have expected that strange wonderful feeling of seeing earth from space.
Art is an amazing space we hold within us. It's private and delicate and often beautiful.
You have to be foolish and vulnerable sometimes to really learn in life, and I learned this past year that the quest to becoming a better teacher is the quest to be a better friend and to share with your friends some amazing things they may not otherwise see. How could you not love doing that?
So I just want to take a moment to say, if you're thinking about taking this workshop I'm about to teach: I am your friend, even if we've never met, and I'm sitting here waiting to show you some crazy beautifulness that's right here, resting behind these small waves, out past that horizon.