My students have been cracking me up the past week in class with their spot-on descriptions of me and my teaching style. Even the first timers in my class already have me pegged. So, here is what my students already know, but you may not, about me.
1) “Sure! Of course we can do that!”
My typical response to almost every project suggestion or idea my students bring up to me. I’m a firm believer that things are never as complicated as they seem and nothing is out of reach to achieve. It might not be the easiest thing they’ve ever done, but its important for everyone to know that they can create whatever they set their minds to making.
2) There are no rules.
Well, okay, there are some rules around good clay construction practices. However, my classes are not about doing exactly what I do. I teach techniques and methods. Then I give my students the freedom to translate it into their own ideas. In fact, nothing makes me happier then seeing them create something completely their own.
3) I’m a little bit, okay a lot, cheesy.
Part of that is simply my personality, but the rest is about creating a safe and comfortable environment for my students. I want them to feel they can have fun and take risks. In addition to telling bad jokes, I take them on field trips and organize crazy events like clay pumpkin carving contests and plein air underglaze painting.
4) I’m fearless.
This statement is in fact a direct student observation. Pretty on the mark though. I don’t worry about something not going right in a demo or demoing on demand in response to a question. I think showing that its okay to take risks and its okay to fail is important. Its a good reminder that perfection is not the goal.
5) I love doing new things.
This shows up most frequently in my project lists each class session. I work really hard to not repeat a project. It works out great for returning students because it allows them to continue to grow in their clay skills, so we all benefit.
So, there you have it. My teaching approach summed up in five statements. Thinking about taking one of my classes? You are now forewarned and forearmed! : )
Wondering how cheesy I can be? A cheese cheese tray from a demo the other day.