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Teenager In Adult Beginner Wheel Class.

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The community arts center where I teach has asked whether I would agree to allowing a 13 yo into the class.  I realize that the success of this would be highly dependent on the teenager and I don't know anything about this kid yet.  Just looking for some thoughts, things to consider, previous experiences etc.

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My two nieces are both highly creative and artistic. One is already getting her work into galleries, her drawings and paintings are amazing. She is 13 going on 14. So I think it just depends on if the class is there to focus on pottery or to socialize. I went to a few weeks of pottery class and there was a lot of socializing going on, which was fine, because it didn't bother me, but there were some stories a 13 year old probably shouldn't be hearing, along with plenty of wine drinking. I kept to myself and worked, but I know that it might have bothered the other adults if there was a young person there. And since you label the class as "ADULT beginner wheel class" instead of "beginner wheel class", might want to make sure, a lot of adults want the pottery class to be a stress reliever and kind of a place to relax. 

 

Just my opinions. If the focus is 100% pottery, then I doubt the teenager would get in the way at all, and if he/she isn't interested, like Marcia said, they will move on quickly I presume.

 

Good LUCK!

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My "beginner" pottery class was full of potters who had plenty of years experience; the day/time the class was offered fit their schedule and they signed up.  I think that is how many approach signing up for a class at a community center . . . if the day/time fits, that works.  And, as a beginner, it gave me a level of skill to aspire to work towards.  And, with the class in a community center, you will not have to worry about the class turning into a wine social, etc. (might be different if the class was at a private center).  A beginner potter is a beginner potter; at 13, he/she will have the same strengths, abilities, limitations, frustrations as a beginning adult -- working with a one, two or three pound ball of clay. 

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I can see Grype's points.  Things might be a little bit awkward for both the young adult, and the adults.  

 

Buuuuut, as an educator, I never like discouraging any chance for a student to take the incentive to learn more.

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Don't get me wrong about my previous post, I definitely want the young person to learn a craft more than I am worried about the adults having their social hour. Just want to make sure that your adults are prepared for that if it is the situation. 

 

I agree with Bruce about the struggles, it doesn't matter how old you are, doing a new thing is tough for anyone, and at 13 they should have the same issues as the adult on the wheel.

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The 13 year old will probably learn faster than the adults! At that age, inhibitions and being self conscious hasn't set in so hard as it can with adults. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if he/she surpasses the adults in no time at all. And, there are 13 year olds out there that are very mature for their age.

 

Still, I think I'd ask to meet the young adult in question before taking on the challenge of instructing them. They may be genuinely interested in learning....or they could be an obstructive element in your class. Tough call.

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Meeting the student and parent before class enrolment would be good. points above are all relevant. My daughter attended many diffferent workshops and classes where she was the only young person. She was/is quiet and focussed, perhaps she did take in some of hte "other" stuff but she was pretty determined to get the experience, still has very close friendship with some of hte now oldies, great for her as no grandparents were around, still goes to visit when she gets back here.

Do you have certain restrictions re. working with minors now? WE need police checks here.

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I feel why age should be a barrier. Let the teenager join.Let's not make assumptions.
If you're so apprehensive, meet the kid once and then decide.

 

Just, let creativity flow, if the kid has the passion will stick around.
 

 

Vinks!

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Treat this person like you would anyone else in the class. If they behave badly, tell them to stop. If they continue, throw them out. Otherwise, let them learn as much as they can, just like the other students.

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we get this sometimes at our group studio and it usually works out.  all depends on the motivation of the student.

 

sort of related - yesterday i showed a couple of newbies how to do one step naked raku.  it was such a pleasure to have two attentive students who listened and really wanted to learn. we got great results and i think these two are really "turned on" to the process.  

 

so often you get people who just don't pay attention and  require baby sitting.  good students are such a plus.   rakuku

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I think if you allow the youngster into the adults' class and then offer the class again it ought to be re-titled "Beginner Wheel", which keeps it "clean and clear" for all concerned. There are a lot of good reasons to give the kid a chance, but to my mind it is generally a good idea to have what is being paid for match what is being advertised. So something as simple as a name change takes care of that from all sides. Also, if you let one teen in, it would be unfair to deny others, so there is a "policy" issue involved that probably should be settled before another class is offered. 

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Thanks everyone for your thoughts!  I really appreciate it.

 

This is a small community arts center in the smallest county in VA...there are no traffic lights in the entire county, unless you count the one over a bridge to an island.  So offering a young adult class like Marko suggested isn't an option since we don't have the client base here and can barely fill the adult classes.

But, LeeU, your comments have clinched it for me in that I have realized that the designation of "adult class" is of my own making.  The kids classes are labelled as such, but all other classes are just advertised generically.  The "title" of my class is beginner wheel, not adult beginner wheel.  So I can't very well deny anyone, can I?  In fact, it was very nice of them to ask first.  And won't I be thrilled if I start a young person on the road of a wonderful clay journey that lasts a lifetime.

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When I taught my adult classes, I allowed parents to bring children with them. There were some provisions that I set the first time it happened. 1) the child was a paying student. 2) the parent was responsible for the childs behavior. 3)intrusions on the adults in the class due to the child would be looked upon unfavorably and cause for expulsion. 4)the adults had to approve the admission of the child in the class. 

It seems harsh/unfriendly looking at these provisions that I ended up setting, but you had to realize some of the circumstances involving the adults. Most of these adults used this morning class to "escape" from their usual duties which included parenting. Time was limited to 6 classes of 3 hours each. Not a whole lot of time. Each student was treated individually with a wide variety of construction techniques going on from extrusion to slab to throwing or coil. There was a wide variety of skill levels in the class, with some students able to throw quite well, and others just beginning, some able to design and execute a handbuilt piece using any technique, and others needing step by step instruction from inception to completion. All of these meant that time was important, and needed to be efficient in the use of that time. Trying to engage an unhappy child was not on my list of priorities.

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... And won't I be thrilled if I start a young person on the road of a wonderful clay journey that lasts a lifetime.

nah, they will do it until they are 22 and then come back to it when they are 50. Then it will last the rest of a lifetime :rolleyes:

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I enrolled my son and his best friend when they were 13 in a community pottery class and myself so I could teach them.  The classes are pretty overloaded and the teacher is spread too thin.  The first day of class the teacher showed up with bandages all over her hands she had tried to break up a dog fight.  I ended up teaching the class and spent very little time with my son and his friend.  They didn't cause any problems and picked up throwing quickly, they pretty much worked in a corner by themselves.  If this boy is wanting to take this class you shouldn't have any problems, my son was just looking for something to do.     Denice

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I have taught several young people (13 to 16 year olds) in my "adult" evening classes. They are awesome additions to the classes and are eager to learn. My experience has been very positive and I enjoy watching the interaction of young and not so young as they travel together on their clay journey. The young are very respectful and helpful when exposed to respectful and helpful "not so young".

 

I have a beginning wheel class starting tomorrow night with a very nice young man (13) and his sister (17). They attended a raku night last Saturday and fit right in with the adults. I am looking forward to having them in my class!!! Awesome young adults give me faith in the future.

 

Mark

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Based on my personal experience with kids, I would say that having one or two kids sprinkled in an adult class is probably going to be better than teaching a class full of kids. The social pressure to act "grown up" will be pretty strong since the adults won't be acting like teenagers (one hopes!). As a teenager I already had an intense interest in any creative topic that would have caused me to be deeply attentive in any art class.

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