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So, I am standing in the middle of my studio in the middle of our big Mother's Day open artists studio walk. There are 9 professional artists, and we open up our studios to people who walk the neighbourhood, looking at art.

It is a two day sale, and happens again in November. The great thing is that I don't have to move my work, and people can see an artist in his/her natural environment.

Anyway, these two guys are standing there looking at me. They are about 26. Tall, thin, good looking. Both wearing woolen hats which we call touques in Canada.

They looked strangely familiar. Luckily, they introduced themselves by name. I knew them right away. I had taught both of them art over 8 years ago. G. was now an architecture student. I remember him being an amazing drawer. He was the student council president and did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! I gave him a reference. We laughed at that. The other young man was sporting a full beard. I couldn't grow a beard like that until I was in my 40's.

I remembered luckily, that the second student, had a father who died while he was still in high school. He works as a pressman, or a printer.

Both had traveled, looked at art, had fun before settling down. They had heard about the sale and wanted to see me.

Apparently I was their favourite teacher in high school. Even though they weren't the most serious students, they turned out great. They congratulated me on winning the Canadian high school art teacher of the year award in 2012.They said that it was a long time coming. I said that I hadn't done much lately and we all laughed.

It was a great time.

Have you influenced anyone, or changed a young person's life, for the good?

Let's hear about it.

TJR.

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Awesome!

 

It is great to see former students, and hear that you made an impact.

 

I just went to a Graduation party yesterday. This was for a talented student, who I only had twice, once as a Freshman, then not again until this past year, as a Senior. I told her, that she may not have taken a lot of Art classes, but made up for it in project quality. The last class she took was my 3-D Art class, where we do our clay work. She put in endless hours making her projects, and it showed.

Both her parents thanked me at the party, and said that I rekindled her interest in Art. She is not majoring in it, in college, but might work it in to her major. She also wants to take some type of Art class while she's there.

 

I also keep in touch with a couple former students, who did go into an Art-related field. One is a graphic designer, the other works at a fashion firm in NYC. I enjoy hearing from them, and seeing the work they are doing.

The graphic designer, actually sent me a copy of a book she designed, while finishing up college. It is over a local ceramic artist, Dean Schwarz.

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Guest JBaymore

A quick "happy" story from the last NCECA......

 

I'm at my college's table in the non-profit section of the trade show hall.  In the distance I see one of our former grads walking toward the table.  Haven't seen her in a while.  Because I follow what is happening out in the clay world... I already know that she had just received a teaching position at a college.  She walks up and I extend my hand for a shake... give a slight bow (yeah........the Japanese stuff just comes out sometimes) and simply say, "Professor." 

 

A nice moment for both of us.

 

best,

 

...................john

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Numbers of students went on to dabble in Ceramics, some went on to teach Art. Some went on to careers as Commercial Artists. Sadly too many of my best students have died early. One a great gal and excellent 2-D artist died early of disease after becoming department head at Belk-Mathews. Another attended Carnegie Mellon, got burned out, and became a bakery chef, died of heart failure.

 

Then there are those that held great relationships with me over the years. One a student who wanted to become a 3-D animator, but the parents did not think it was quite right, made him take a two year degree in programming. Parents invited me to his graduation.  He was the top of his class. From there he went to Full Sail in Florida for 3-D imaging and animation. Second in his class. Now works for EA Sports. Still keeps in touch.

 

Just yesterday a Mother stopped me to show pictures of her twin girls living in North Carolina. Told how they were still teaching art, and how one of their daughters was now teaching art after graduating from Penn State. Boy, do I feel . . . . older!

 

All in all, it has been the best of careers, and seeing kids come back to thank you, was always gratifying. Seeing them succeed in whatever they decided to do, that was even more gratifying!

 

Hmmmm! my job was just posted as the girl that took my place is moving. I wonder. . . . go back?   

 

 

NOT!

 

best,

Pres

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I have a "two-way street" story, very timely for this topic: 

 

(1) Regarding art, I have been making a dedicated effort to track down my best university art instructors (I graduated in '82), to thank them, describe their influence on me, and let each know where I am now with ceramics/other art. None knew where I was or what I was doing during my 30 year detour from making art (I went into the addiction treatment field). Each was truly thrilled to get that "thank you" and each commented on how infrequently they ever hear from former students.

 

(2) While not about art, I created and supervised a unique program for people with substance use disorders and HIV/AIDS (high death rate-'80s-90's-high incidence region-minimal services and an extreme crack problem). Just in the last 6 months, two of my former staff tracked me down to thank me for what we did with the program, for what they learned from me, and for how it shaped their successful careers. So, I was thrilled

 

WOW...no one knows how they affected you if you don't tell them, and you never know how you affected someone if they never tell you! Both of these experiences have been a wonderful "blast from the past".  

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Cool stories, kinda reminds you why you got into to this business I'll bet. Rewarding and influential and probably kept more than a few out of trouble. Kids today could probably use teachers like you more than before to keep them away from computer games!

Thanks for the topic Tom, brought back some fond memories of my teachers from the 70's. Wow been that long!

Dale    

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My mom taught for over thirty years, and I've enjoyed seeing her students come back, sometimes with their kids. I've also run into them all over the world, including the South Pole.

I was a sub on and off at the same high school where mom taught. One day I couldn't find the class materials left by the teacher, and ended up discussing why we make kids sit through history classes-I covered labor law, civil rights, access to health care, a whole range of blathering on. Two years later one of the kids in that class was in moms class. He realized that we were related and told mom how much he had learned from my talk.

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I had a similar phone call a few years back from a former camper (early 1970's).  He was writing a book and was trying to track down some of the "characters" who influenced his life. He started out the conversation with something like, "Are you the pottery guy who sang silly songs to the pots as he made them, back in the camps days?"  I laughed and confessed that I did not recall who he was...but that did not seem to matter.  He then told me how homesick he had been and that the fact that I took time to talk to a shy, eight year old kid made him feel like he belonged...and that left a long standing impression.

 

I had witnessed similar experiences from my teacher/professor parents and relate very well to the stories many of you are sharing.  It is good to reflect on those things, @TJR.  Thanks for starting this thread!

 

-Paul

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I don't think I've been at this long enough to influence anyone, but I certainly have been influenced by others. If my instructor Bonnie, from Spokane Potter's Guild is lurking in here somewhere, I just want to say THANK YOU!!! You've given me the future of a life long passion!

 

I've had great teachers from my school days that still influence me to this day. Not so much from an academic standpoint, but more from a "how to be a good person" standpoint. Their examples of patience, compassion, understanding and genuine interest in me as a person, have stayed with me throughout my life. I wish I could thank them all. But sadly, most of them have passed on. :(

 

Never underestimate your powers as an instructor. Even the smallest bit of encouragement can mean a great deal! ;)

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A quick "happy" story from the last NCECA......

 

I'm at my college's table in the non-profit section of the trade show hall.  In the distance I see one of our former grads walking toward the table.  Haven't seen her in a while.  Because I follow what is happening out in the clay world... I already know that she had just received a teaching position at a college.  She walks up and I extend my hand for a shake... give a slight bow (yeah........the Japanese stuff just comes out sometimes) and simply say, "Professor." 

 

A nice moment for both of us.

 

best,

 

...................john

that's beautiful 

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