Love What You Do, Like Who You Are

November 10, 2011

I was just sitting here mulling everything I’ve done in the two weeks since I got home, (2 weeks already? WOT?). I have taught 3 full day classes, worked my part time job a little more than part time to catch up, attended 3 meetings, did 3 presentation demos in one night, worked on getting my gallery stuff together and haven’t had but one day off in 14. Seems like the magic number is 3 here, too.

Resin charms, Meredith Arnold, 2011

Anyway, the thought strays across my mind like a wind blown leaf: love what you do, like who you are, and it feels profound. Like a deep secret that needs the light of day so all can know it; like treasure nestled in old velvet, hidden in an old jewelry box, long forgotten, but oh, so valuable. What made me think this, I wonder? I was mulling, as I said. One of those mulls was that it seems that the more solid work time I create in a class, the happier my students are with the class. Read ‘solid work time’ as ‘shut up Meredith, you don’t have to prove your value as a teacher by spewing a dump truck of info here! Let them work!’. I’m an information addict and always want to know more so I forget that not everyone can listen and work. I know it’s very frustrating to have a teacher keep blabbing out info and the students dilemma is do I take notes for every golden word or work on the process laid out? It’s really hard to pace information in a class because every class is different but it is easier if you love what you do and like who you are. I heard you say HUH? No really. Think about it. If you’re not continually, unconsciously trying to prove your value as a teacher you can take that step back and work right along with your students. It’s also really hard as an art teacher to just watch everyone else in the room making stuff, get inspired at what they’re doing and then because you’re the teacher, not be able to do anything with that inspiration. You think to yourself: oh I’ll try that when I get home but then after packing up everything in the right order so you’ll find it again and getting home you’re completely exhausted. All the inspiration gets shelved, and all you can do is whatever it takes to hold body and soul together.
If you like who you are then you know that you’ll put the right amount of information out for the student group in front of you without having to prove yourself. Every group is different so the information flow is always different as well. The dynamics of teaching are amazingly complicated when you take into consideration all of the variables: personality types, learning modalities, behavior styles, personal agendas in the room, student self confidence (plays a big role in the room), and the info to be presented, demonstrated or illustrated. If you love what you do then your passion and enthusiasm gets communicated. If you like who are then your personal issues don’t really enter into the information flow equation. This all applies to more than art teachers. Besides life is just plain better if you love what you do and like who you are!


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