I have been teaching art to kids and adults for a long time. It is only in the last ten years or so, however, that I have really done it well. So, seeing as I started teaching in 1997, that says a lot about how much I didn't know and how long I didn't know it until I did it.
I am now, I can honestly say, getting so much more out of teaching than I ever had because I got out of the way of my students. Instead of giving students assignments, rules and parameters, I now provide a space in which they can work with materials free of judgement, harsh criticism, or regard for expectation.
I see my job as a teacher to create a creative space where people feel like they can be themselves fully, explore unknown themes and strategies without fear of reproach, and feel the support and encouragement of their teacher and their fellow students. In short, it is not my mission to teach art and help people be good artists, but to assist people, at any age, to get to a point where they are curious about what makes them tick, and find a path to discovering themselves within the context of a creative environment.
Basically, I just get out of the way.
In this way, I am more inspired in every class I teach than I have ever been before because I have the privilege of watching people become. I have the honor of watching people take risks. I have the opportunity to cheer people on as they fail and succeed in challenging situations.
There is nothing like telling people, wordlessly or otherwise, that you believe in them, and then stepping back and watching what happens.
Is an artist, a philosopher, a writer and a teacher. She will be writing random thoughts here. Follow along if you are interested.
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