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Biglou13

Teaching ..stressed....

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I started teaching @ a guild/ public studio.

I teach a basic class

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed,?!?!

 

My 2 hour class takes me at least 4 hours.

Just when I feel like I'm underwhelmed 2 new students show up...

I keep telling admin. No new students unless they schedule 1class private semi private to get them caught up.

Sometimes adults are worse than 12 year olds.

I'm trying to get everyone thinking for themselves.... It's the ones that need spoon feeding that drain me.

Not many utilize open studio time?!

The list goes on.

 

I need not to feel overwhelmed

 

Good thing I have a few stars. That listen... Follow directions. And get it...

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YOu'll learn heaps about people and your art, gotta know it exquisitely to teach it to others. You'll quickly pick up how to convert te needy, the chatty and the batty. A sense of humour is tantamount. Wait till a precious pot does not survive the kiln or the drying process.

We might read about you here!

Good luck. :)  Be strict with your time given before and after class.... you want to keep producing, right? Very few teachers I know have achieved the strict with time given. This is the trap of teaching, but it is rewarding.

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The needy wear me out way more than the chatty and the batty.  Sounds like a club!  My chuckle for the day as I head to the studio to prep for a group coming in to ....GLAZE !!!!  always the toughest day for me. some of them are incapable of choosing a glaze.

 

Sounds like you administration is a bigger problem for you than the actual students ?

 

Yes, I find adults much more challenging than kids.  They can be pushy, condescending, grabby, and want to talk on their cell phones while I am teaching.  I have a very short list of 'never in my studio agains' . 

 

Babs is right, set a schedule and stick to it.  If the incoming complain, refer them to the administrators that set them up for disappointment in the first place.  You can't keep doing start overs. or you are cheating the rest of the group.

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It takes a lot of learning to become the type of teacher that can feed the needy, nourish the hungry, and sooth the batty. Every hour is filled with solving problems for others and their projects, at the same time make certain that when you solve their problems-give them choices of solution. That way they will still be able to call it theirs. Day in and day out you will find that you go home exhausted from working with so many varied personalities. Does it get easier as they get more experience? No, it actually gets tougher as they want to know more now that they have a basic beginning. If they were HS kids there for just a class, one problem, you have to force the info on them-very tiring and not very gratifying. If they are HS kids that want to be there or adults that are the same it is soooo exhausting, and soooo rewarding as everyday is a challenge with visible success. Now when you can walk away from both types of audiences with a smile even though exhausted, you are a teacher.

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Teaching is an "extreme people skills" job. It takes a whole lot of energy, and a whole lot of patience. I'm concerned that this center allows students to join the class at anytime, that's not fair to you. But given that the center allows this, and this is supposed to be a "basic" class, you should expect that many of your students are not going to be serious students, ie not the type who can think about pottery concepts for themselves. So you should prepare lessons for that level, but keep an eye out for students who can handle more, so you can give them more challenging work.

 

I know very well how draining a difficult student can be. I wish I had claylover's authority to ban people from my classroom :-) Sometimes it requires deep breaths and a "let it go" mantra. Conversely, if you have a few "stars" let them know quietly that you appreciate them.

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Always seemed to me that the more energy I put into class, the more I got back from the students. Nothing like really excited enthusiasm for the subject to spur a student on. Even if you act goofy at times about what you do, or just seem to have so much fun doing it, others want to have the same feelings.

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I started teaching @ a guild/ public studio.

I teach a basic class

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed,?!?!

 

My 2 hour class takes me at least 4 hours.>>>Wow, how do you get a 2 hour class down to just 4 hours?<<<<  I'm impressed

Sometimes adults are worse than 12 year olds.  ----  >>>True<<<<

I'm trying to get everyone thinking for themselves.... It's the ones that need spoon feeding that drain me. --- >>>A handout helps<<<<

Not many utilize open studio time?! -->>>> because in their minds, they already know<<<<

The list goes on. ---  >>> Just think, your list is the same list of teachers all over the world!!!<<<<

 

I need not to feel overwhelmed.... >>>I learned more about pottery, teaching students than the students themselves<<<

 

Good thing I have a few stars. That listen... Follow directions. And get it...  <<<<The bright stars are few and far between.>>>

 

Hey,

I think the experience of teaching will improve your pottery on several levels.  You'll answer the same questions and say the same things

3 to 5 different ways hoping that something sinks in.  Sometimes it helps having a good student expain something that they don't

get.... they seem to understand each other.

 

It might help to have "cylinder night" so every one is on the same page at once.  Give a handout on cylinders and pottery made

from cylinders.  i.e. cups, vases, jars, churns, steins, pitchers, jugs, etc.  Anything higher than a bowl is a cylinder and vice versa.

 

It might help to have a "bowl night" and give a handout on bowls.  Give a list of bowls. ie cereal, ice cream, candy dish, mixing,

berry bowl, batter bowl, etc.

 

Have Attachment night, and yes, a short outline handout on attaching handles or appliques, and a demonstration.

 

I bet no one has asked you yet, "Why did my mom's Christmas vase dissolve in the glaze bucket?"  hint: it was greenware

 

I had students bring in notebooks (3-6 pages) of vessels seen in magazines that they were interested in making or interested

in the shape or purpose.  That turned out pretty good.

 

There was a time I played a beginners pottery tape at the first of class... maybe 10 minutes or so then demonstrated.

That worked out pretty good.  The following night, I'd play the next 10 minutes and review questions from the night before.

 

Deep down inside, you're having a blast.  You just don't know it. ;>)

 

Good luck, keep us posted on the down falls and success stories.

Thanks,

Alabama

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I know the feeling all too well. How many students in the class? Is there a cap? Sometimes in your position, I tell students that we are going to have 20 minutes (or whatever you decide) of silent work time so that people can really introspect. At the end of the 20 minutes they will share what is the single most important question a student at their level should be asking...at least it buys you 20 minutes of quiet in which to think....

good luck!

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You need to learn a two hour class does not stretch to four hours . . . that is not teaching, that is being taken advantage of, by your students, by the studio. Been there, done that. And I doubt the studio is paying your for that extra time. The biggest issue I had teaching was when I was outside of class hours and trying to do my own work . . . and some folks would come over and ask for help -- not once, but repeatedly because they only saw me as an instructor. Don't be afraid to say no; you can't be everything/do everything for everyone every class session. It will take a bit to find the balance, but in the mean time, don't let this overwhelm you.

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When, if, I had a free period where everything else on my plate was done, and I wanted to work on a project-I would lock the door. Lights on, room window uncovered me visible, but the door locked. Sometimes I had folks come to it, but when they tried it-finding it locked, they knew. This didn't happen often, and the folks in the basement treated my like real people as I did them-great place.

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Hi, I tell my students to start clean up 15 minutes before the end of class & not let them begin another project just before that time. The late starters should be responsible for catching up on their own.

Joy

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The hardest thing for me to deal with when I started teaching was the fact that very few of my students take it very seriously. It's a fun hobby, a good way to get out of the house once a week. They enjoy it and they want to be good at it, but they have no intention of ever selling their work. Their learning curve is way slower than how I learned, and that was frustrating.

 

Make sure the studio rules are clear, and post them somewhere in the room. It will take a few weeks, but eventually you will get them all trained. My advanced students are a great help in training the newbies.

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I didn't reply to this post at first, because it made me really tired out to read it.

You need to set clear parameters for your class.

1. If it's a two hour class, allow for 15 minute clean-up within that time.

2. Write out a course outline e.g. week one centering. Week 2 cylinders. 3. Bowls. 4. Trimming. 5. Handles,etc.

3. I also always began with hand building. If people don't like throwing, they can always go back to hand building.

If it is a 10 week course, you should not be accepting students in the middle.

If it is a year long course, you could accept the newbies at the beginning of the month, or some agreed upon time with your boss.

I taught evening pottery classes at our city art gallery for 8 years. I have now been teaching art with a B. Ed for 27 years, I earned my degree while teaching at the art gallery.

The flaw with teaching evening classes, is that it is a bit thankless. You never get past the beginning stage, then the class is over and you get a new batch. Like Sysefas. The guy pushing the rock up the hill. Eventually you get tired, and the rock rolls back and crushes you. Too synical?

TJR.

Chilly likes this

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I was lucky with my adult groups. It was more of an open studio, people from the school district mostly, people I knew. Some of these folks were art teachers, and had some experience, some none. Most of my folks took the class every time I offered it. In the last year I taught a double session to handle all of the sign ups-they knew I was leaving. Most of the time they would pick up where they left off, advancing a bit at a time. Most started with hand building with the extruder and slabs then would move onto the wheel. Those that had had ceramics in college for one reason or another would mostly work on the wheel. I was told often that I moved them further along on the wheel than they had ever moved in college. My response was honest-most of the early stuff you learned like centering and throwing was the hardest, all I had to do was to tweek that to make it work better for the way you throw. I miss the groups, and all of the individuals, they have tried to have me come in to help, but it did not work out well. New teachers have to establish their territory, and work things out in their own way, having an old fogy coming in to help is really not a good idea. :(

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You have to have a plan. Stick to the plan, today i demo bowls, next week i do cylinders, next week trimming, then handles, then glaze. After my demo they work on what i showed them or stuff from previous weeks. If you have late comers they have to deal with it until you have a free class moment to give them a bit of attention but not so much the rest of the class feels slighted. The attention end when class is over. I announce when it is a half hour til class end and suggest they start wrapping up the project they are on and 20 minutes til the end of class i call clean up and start everyone to dumping splash pans and getting the ware tucked away. My classes are 3 hours long...perhaps talking your admin into longer classes would free up the stress.

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Prior to my own serious involvement in ceramics, I taught college chemistry to mostly per-med students. This entailed laboratory sessions, as well as, traditional lecture sections. These classes took a great deal of preparation at many levels. The students however were pretty focused and needed to earn a high grade if medicine was really their objective.

 

Years later, after taking graduate ceramics courses, I began teaching an introductory hand building class. The course was for credit, so the vast majority of students were college age, but still a portion of the class was made up of adults taking it for personal interest.

 

Comparing the two, the preparation for the pottery class was more physical. The chem lab preparation I used to do was offset by loading and firing the kilns. The main difference was the in-class activity, with ach student needing my individualized attention and help.

 

I quickly modified my approach by tightening up the syllabus, while providing students flexibility with their projects. Classes would begin with a demo and brief discussion. I shared slides and hands on examples of pottery before they were off to work. I encouraged some of the students who had more experience to help others, too.

 

I no longer had the lecture preparation and test grading, but for some reason it seemed that the pottery class was just as demanding for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it for 10 years before retiring.

 

I learned from my students, too. Especially glaze combinations. Opening the kiln from their first firing was always an experience. Work was mostly elementary but since most students had no preconceived ideas of glazes, they tried combinations I might never have.

 

Teaching is a profession and an art. Like any activity, masters can make it look so simple.

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Sadly, teaching is becoming more of an exercise in bureaucracy.  "Sure, you can teach the students, just make sure that said help is documented, and that you have checked all the boxes..."

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Yes, sadly enough, the profession I started in 36 years ago was not the same as the one I left. There were some good changes, some in me, some in the way things were done in general. In the long run though we lost so much of the fun we had in the earlier years, not that I didn't have fun with the kids in my classroom or the halls, activities and such, but so many times the constraints that appeared lost a lot. 

 

Case example. When this guy was just starting out, maybe in the third year, I had a female student that wanted to go to a college interview at my alma mater, 140 miles away from our area. Some how, her mother asked me if I could help her by taking her up. I got permission slips from the school and drove her up in the middle of the Winter. She went to the interview, I showed her around the campus, and we stayed at my parents home overnight, two nights. On the way back we waited for an hour on a mountain waiting for the snow plow to come through as we had a sudden snow storm. This day and age, I would never even have ventured to do this, back then, not even a second thought, just trying to help her out.  However, it could have gotten sticky even then. Turned out she never showed up for school even though accepted. I found out later that she had a baby in the Summer, and life had definitely changed for her. Timing was weird as it would have been 9 months after our trip. These days, two and two make four, but in my case wrong conclusion.

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