Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Lessons of Teaching

Despite a snowstorm, the class in pocket bookbinding went on as scheduled this past Saturday. Here is  a picture of Sid and myself,   working on one of the projects. I am the one on the left wearing  my well worn studio apron, and layered for the winter weather!
This class was  different from what I am  used to teaching. It was an informal group of fellow bookbinders, all with some knowledge of this art form. As I often do when writing, I went  to my dictionary to read  their definitions of teaching. " To import knowledge by lessons; to give instruction in; communicate the knowledge of."
 I think I like the last one the best.To communicate what I have figured out through study, practice, trial and error. There was often some of the latter experience. I wanted my presentation to be easy to follow, so everyone left with a finished project. One of my goals was to help them avoid making all the mistakes that took up my time and energy.
What I found was that everyone invents their own, original deviations. During my preparation, and there was a lot of it, my mistakes could  upset me, discourage me, and take a lot of time to resolve. As the instructor, I was  expected to have the answers, since this is something new to the others. So I put on my teacher apron; dug  deep into my past experiences; and helped work through the dilemmas that came up for others. I must say, I was impressed at my cool under fire. Maybe that was part of my lesson, to know I could do it. 
I guess it came down to figuring out how to translate whatever happened,the good and the not so great, into a new and better art form.  Not to forget another lesson. It was fun!

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