We have all had the teachers who left an indelible mark on us. Perhaps they were the person who set us on the course of our chosen discipline. Maybe they were the elementary teacher who first got us excited about learning in general; the person who showed us it was okay to be curious, to challenge the status quo, or that it was okay to be ‘smart’.
My desire is to be remembered as a teacher who was passionate about the subject matter and perhaps even inspired students to think outside the box. As instructors, we can open up the world to our students and get them to look through a different lens, if only for a short period of time. I want my students to challenge and to question so they can grow as individuals and as artists/designers.
To achieve the above, I strive for an open environment in my classes where students feel comfortable asking questions, sharing their ideas, and offering support to their fellow students. I believe this collaborative approach is a key to a positive, nurturing learning environment.
In addition, I believe it is important to respect my students’ time, as I hope they will respect mine. As instructors we set the tone for our classes each day. So I enter the classroom prepared before I get there. By showing up enthusiastic, prepared and on time for the class, it becomes contagious and everyone benefits.
Incorporating hands-on activities reinforces the concepts I am teaching. I will demonstrate a technique at the beginning of the class and then allow time for the students to practice it. During this time, I monitor their progress and share points that still need clarifying with everyone.
One of the things I enjoy most about teaching is that each day is different and each class is different. Classes have a collective personality based on the students in the class. It is interesting to get to know your classes’ personalities and figure out how best to reach this particular group of students and to engage them in the material.
Lastly, I will end with a quote by Gail Godwin. “Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater.” As the make-up of our student population moves entirely to those who have grown up on Mr. Rogers and MTV, I believe this statement will become a major factor in how we reach the next generation of students.