Twenty Questions
Ick! I'm Sick.

Teaching is All About Learning

I think that this might be my most favorite class yet.  I've just put the finishing touches on my "Scrappy Jewelry" class, which I'm teaching tonight at Portrait Bug.

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The image above is the first slide from my PowerPoint presentation for the class.  Those are the four projects we're making in just two hours.  It's going to be a crazy whirlwind of activity!  I can't wait.

In the meantime, I thought I'd talk a little today about my experiences with teaching art classes.

Share Your Joy And See The Lightbulbs Go Off

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I don't think that you can be a good teacher unless you love what you do.  The whole impetus to teach has to be because you want to share with the world!  I think that I get the same kind of joy from teaching that I do from blogging.  But teaching is even better because I get to see the lightbulbs go off.  And whenever I feel burned out, teaching reignites that flame!

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

You know the old joke? 

Q: How do I get to Carnegie Hall?
A: Practice, practice, practice!

It's true.  But for me, I've always felt that "prepare, prepare, prepare" was a better way of putting it.  It is the act of putting together the class samples, preparing instructions, preparing my presentation, time planning, etc. that really gets me ready for the class.

Furthermore, preparing gets me to understand every part of it a little bit deeper.  Which means that I'm able to answer questions easily and offer more detail during class.  It also means that I can anticipate mistakes and stop students from making them. (Unless they're awesomely cool breakthrough type mistakes.  Love those!)

I Prefer PowerPoint

One of the reasons that I like teaching at Portrait Bug (classroom pic below, that's me up front) is because it's a wired classroom.  I bring my laptop, hook it up to the big TV, and start through my presentation.  

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I find that even with a small class, a PowerPoint presentation makes it so much easier for everyone to follow along, see the details, and really understand the techniques.  For instance, in my presentation for the Scrappy Jewelry class, I embedded a video I made about how to create a wrapped loop. It's small detailed work and this way students can see it clearly.  And then I can show them how to do it individually.  Much more efficient use of time!

I also like using PowerPoint because it keeps me on track, and it's so flexible.  I can make adjustments and tweaks so easily!

Learning is a Two-Way Street

Seriously, I have the best students in the world.  They are so crazy creative and talented and brave.

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Every time I step into a classroom to teach, I learn something.  Sometimes it's something small, like how a product works or doesn't work.  Sometimes it's big, like major inspiration.

There's Always Another Way To Do It

When the space isn't quite right.  Or the store doesn't have the supplies.  Or people keep coming in late.  Or something breaks.  Or everything is cut to the wrong size.  Or your demo just won't work.  You know what?  You find another way to do it!  Being flexible and creative and rolling with the punches is part of the deal.

One of my major mantras when I teach is, "Perfection is boring."  Seriously.  It takes so much effort and sucks all the joy out of creating when you're trying to be perfect.  Aim for terrible.  Aim for stinky.  And you'll either reach your goal or be pleasantly surprised!  And so I take a spoonful of my own medicine.  Being a perfect teacher is boring.  I want to be a lopsided, uneven, handmade, true-to-myself teacher!

I'm Creating More Consciously

Having to explain to someone else why I put the photo right there.  Or exactly how I stitched that tree.  Or why I prefer Sakura Pigma Microns to Zig Writers.  Or whatever else.  Having to explain all of that really makes me create consciously.  Or at least analyze things a bit more. 

One of the best things I ever did for myself was teach my "7 Days • 7 Principles" class.  Previous to teaching the class, I was designing a lot of things on instinct.  I didn't know why it worked, it just did.  Creating the class forced me to analyze exactly why something worked.  And it forced me to be able to verbalize it.  I think my work really took a huge leap forward at that point.

That's all off the top of my head.  I'm looking forward to class tonight!  So many good things to come.

Thanks for stopping by!

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