Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mediocre teaching days and Tim Gunn

Don't know if it's worse to have clear separation of good and bad teaching days or not.

On Thursday, I taught a parks & rec sponsored art class. Ten students, ages 6-10, cartooning. It had been about four weeks since I last taught an art class like this. Last week's demo class with forty-four 2-4 year olds was a completely different animal.

This group, mainly boys, were a bright group. They were personable, easily melded to my class rules, and had a sense of humor. All in all, potentially a teacher's dream class.

Until about three-quarters of the way through the hour when things started to get a little hairy. Three-quarters into an hour long class is not the best time for things to get hairy. I had made a mistake too: I introduced the "framing" part of the lesson too late, and thus I had a whole bunch of students claiming they were done and I was scrambling to get them to see how they were not done all while stapling and passing out construction paper.

I should have also described what a "finished" piece of art looked like - I tend to not do this part on the first day of art class because I want to see the level of the student's natural work, as well as to keep things light and not intimidate anyone with overbearing demands of, "No, the sky is NOT white."

I managed to quell tantrums and kept students working until clean up time, but it was one of those mediocre teaching days when nothing went terribly wrong, but nothing went awesomely swell either. Rather disappointed in myself. I've been able to make the first class exciting and fun pretty much all the time this past year. It sets the right tone for the session, since not everyone likes art, or is motivated to push themselves to do well.

I can hear Tim Gunn saying that line from season two, "Your work so far as been quite lackluster." Today was a lackluster day. Eh.

On a lighter note: how awesome is Tim Gunn as an instructor? I know squat about making clothes, or Tim Gunn's professional history for that matter, but from what I can tell, he seems like one of those authoritative teachers who get automatic respect from students who aren't even in his class.

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