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Newbie Discouraged But Persistent---Help!

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my first class was located 60 miles from my home.  i had just spent the day working at the office.  my children, 1 and 2 were being cared for by someone else, i drove there in the dark, was greeted by some woman who was taking the place of the instructor.  there were 3 wheels and 7 students, the substitute had NO knowledge of clay at all, told us that we could always use whatever we made for a nut dish and that there was a macrame class going on down the hall if we would rather go there.

 

self taught with the help of the Fairfax county library system, all clay books written by then and some determination.

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As an educator, I never like to hear stories of students receiving poor instruction, or just having a poor educational experience in general.

 

Sadly, I know they are a reality.  I've had a couple myself.  Those inspire me to make sure I never teach in such a way.

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I have gotten so much farther watching YouTube videos, reading library books, Googling, and just getting in there and doing it without worrying about the results. I feel like some classes they just teach you to directly imitate other artists' work and others you get no direction, even gentle steering away from mistakes. I think as a teacher it would be imperative to get comfortable with as many different techniques as possible in order to properly shape new artists. Some teachers seem to be in a little comfy box and they'd like you to stay in there with them making the same things they do. 

 

@oldlady: When I first got hooked on clay my son was two and it was so difficult to make everything work since I couldn't exactly strap him to my back and go scrape kiln shelves at my part time studio job. But I wanted to do it so badly that I always found a way. Now he's five and he likes to hang out in my own studio with me and play on the wheel. He makes little volcanoes and he's my greatest admirer. :)

 

Edit: I realize very much that this is not ALL teachers. It's just not always possible to find a good one where you are. 

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As an educator, I never like to hear stories of students receiving poor instruction, or just having a poor educational experience in general.

 

Sadly, I know they are a reality.  I've had a couple myself.  Those inspire me to make sure I never teach in such a way.

I don't like to hear that either. There are a lot of good teachers out there too I hope.

It really is an injustice when someone is put in front of a class with out the knowledge to teach it.

It happens often in colleges.I was spending 30 hours/week prep time to teach Latin American Art History when I taught at UTB. It was eating me up for the first half of the semester. . Then I started assigning research topics/presentation in groups and we learned together.The students enjoyed it. But I was not an Art Historian of Latin American Art. I may me now.

I still taught ceramics classes too.

Marcia

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Marcia: working at a school for three years I watched many art teachers be assigned two periods of art and then they had to teach several others like P.E., Health, etc. This happened to new teachers in fields like Math and English too. It was hard for them and hard for the kids.

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I was a way for a week, vacationing, so missed much of this strand. It is interesting to hear the comments of bad teachers in the arts. I was pretty much unaware of the skills of a teacher in public school years, but came to understand much more in my college years and years of teaching. During college I had art teachers that were Wow with demonstrations, yet awkward with one on one interaction, others that could analyze your piece precisely and make it feel like a pat on the back, whilst others had no knack for proper criticism. There are those that can teach, and not manage a classroom, those that can manage a classroom and not teach. Then occasionally there are those that are ultra organized, great demonstrators, good on one on one, and are classroom generals-great teachers. Making them is the college programs goal, finding them is the goal of the districts hiring, but all too often the mediocre get in because of local nepotism or misrepresentation on the applicants part. It is a shame, but something that happens all too often. Good teachers/professors are like treasure, but not kept in a box, or on a shelf, at center stage. 

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Making them is the college programs goal, finding them is the goal of the districts hiring, but all too often the mediocre get in because of local nepotism or misrepresentation on the applicants part. It is a shame, but something that happens all too often. 

 

Come on Pres, that never happens...

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I am also going to suggest spending time watching YouTube videos of throwing ... A lot of these are really well done so you can watch the hand placement as often as you need to. Also you will see many different ways to do it and realize there is NO one right way.

 

Brace yourself for the glaze chemistry area as she will likely be just as 'helpful'. .... But once again there are some great videos of potters talking about glaze chemistry.

 

We all learn inn our own way and these videos might help you.

You were right.  I must have "missed " the glazing portion because I was pretty much left on my own.  But I had fun experimenting!

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I am curious to see your progress now. Great work on the pictures you posted. Are you still renting space at the local pottery?

I have finished my 10 weeks of 'beginner's' classes and Gary has graciously added me to the Wednesday night class, which is for more advanced students.  There is a waiting list for his classes, so I was thrilled he was able to sneak me in.  I have so many ideas swirling in my head.  I'm VERY excited and have learned (somewhat) that I have to let go of the 'perfect' piece and just move along.  This idea has been a BIG problem for me in many types of media.

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I have taught a few classes at our local community clay center. Some of the first things I tell the class is "I can show you what has worked for me, but there are many ways of doing things. If anyone tells you there's only one way, their way, they are just wrong. Run from them because they are not going to be good teachers. Good teachers can show you several ways to do something. They can look at what you are doing and point out a better way. They can see what's not working and correct it in a way that works for YOU."

As for videos, Adam Field has a really good one on throwing. You can find it on Ceramicartsdaily. It's called Tips for throwing a perfect tall cylinder. It helped me change the way I throw so that I can now pull up the clay from the bottom and throw much thinner pieces.

Of course , he makes it look easy, but I think it's one of the best throwing videos I've seen.

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Well put Humboldt Potter.  I also tell my students, there are several ways to do things.  Sometimes I show a couple, sometimes for the sake of time, I just show one.  

On the wheel I generally tell them, if you find a way to do something, and it works for you, go with it.

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I have taught a few classes at our local community clay center. Some of the first things I tell the class is "I can show you what has worked for me, but there are many ways of doing things. If anyone tells you there's only one way, their way, they are just wrong. Run from them because they are not going to be good teachers. Good teachers can show you several ways to do something. They can look at what you are doing and point out a better way. They can see what's not working and correct it in a way that works for YOU."

As for videos, Adam Field has a really good one on throwing. You can find it on Ceramicartsdaily. It's called Tips for throwing a perfect tall cylinder. It helped me change the way I throw so that I can now pull up the clay from the bottom and throw much thinner pieces.

Of course , he makes it look easy, but I think it's one of the best throwing videos I've seen.

I am an MD.  When I was in medical school and residency, we always were taught several ways to approach a problem.  One never knew what one would find and a it was essential to have a good knowledge of several techniques.  My teacher disappointed me when she threw up her hands and said, "I just can't help you,".

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> I am an MD. When I was in medical school and residency, we always were taught several ways to approach a problem. One never knew what one would find and a it was essential to have a good knowledge of several techniques. My teacher disappointed me when she threw up her hands and said, "I just can't help you,".

 

My daughter is an MD and when I mention symptoms she says ... Did you do this? ... No .... Would you try this? ... No ... Then she throws up her hands and says ..."well, I got nothing for you!"

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