I recently completed the Artist-Educator Foundations Course. The following is a brief description of the course, and my written assessment.
“The Royal Conservatory, with the support of the Ontario Arts Council (OAC), is pleased to offer the Artist-Educator Foundations Course for artists who are already engaged in arts education, and for those who would like to learn more about arts education. This 30-hour course offers artists a window into working in schools and/or in community settings through hands-on, activity-based exploration.”
What this course means for me
I wanted to take this course because I’m in awe of teacher’s mysterious power to control large groups of kids for the whole day. I was always volunteering for classes or to be a counsellor before I was old enough to get paid. I remember my first gig as a “teacher” it was an after school program at the Y. The kids were ranged in age from 6 to almost my age. It was only fun if I got to do the craft with them, so I tried to find crafts that were interesting and easy enough, so we could all do them. Just being around children pushes away my shyness of singing or being silly.
In the past I had to be persuaded that someone really wanted to learn before I taught them flame-working. I also didn’t see the potential I had for teaching other things I knew, because there is always someone who knew more or I thought would be a better teacher.
I know this shows a lack of confidence, but I feel it comes more from a place of wanting the best for people. Perhaps my shyness of being in front and center, helped perpetuate this idea. This started to change for me after I taught a course on how to make sushi through parks and rec. People seems to really enjoy it and of course I am not an expert on this subject, just had lots of practice and taught many friends the techniques over the year and I didn’t know of anyone else in my town who was better than me. That success was the beginning of me saying yes when people wanted to learn how to melt glass and realizing that I already was a sort of educator, though never a teacher in my mind.
This course has allowed me to understand more about the way I teach and this confirmation has given me confidence. I have often done simple things at the beginning of a lesson, but felt rushed to get to the actual lesson. I now realize that it was ok to spend the time getting the students excited and in the right frame of mind.
Our discussions and information you have given us has also helped me come to understand that administrations, teachers and parents have to see the benefits in order to accept what I am offering to teach.
I hope by being able to create a lesson plan it will bridge art and education languages and allow the teachers to really judge what I am going to teach. I see this gift of knowledge as equivalent to being able to write a budget to show a bank while asking for a loan.
I will admit a large part of my excitement in being part of this course is being with people who nod and smile when I talk and vise-vera. I have seen how a good environment will be able to create the safety and enthusiasm in order to have wonderful ideas and more importantly feel wonderful inside.
I have been thinking about setting up a glass studio in a higher learning facility and allowing more artists to experience glass. I would like to find a way to continue learning how to be a great teacher and setting students up for success.