Two Decades of Teaching, A Reflection Begins..
It is time to tell the stories, the insights, ups, downs and all around experiences, 20 years of college teaching art & design.. Let us begin this series of posts with the most profound and ongoing metaphor, shall we?
Recently, I began reflecting on my 20 years of college-level teaching and was amazed by how much I’ve been able to accomplish. 20 years is a lot of contrast in terms of lineage, right? I have taught and continue to teach both graduate and undergraduate courses in various fields like studio art, graphic design, digital art, illustration, design thinking, new media, web design, digital storytelling, communication technology and various related foundation courses. Over the years, I’ve created new courses, developed curriculum, published content, and installed and generated archival course websites. I’ve had the opportunity to experiment with many new technologies, work with amazing people, and create / curate exhibitions. The list just continues to grow.
Teaching has been one of my greatest educations. (Just a reminder, I am a deaf person who teaches in all mainstream institutions.) Through out life, not just work-life, life situations can seem like they have no immediate solutions, and our ego kicks in to remind us of all the other times of uncertainty. It can be difficult to control these emotions at first, but we can become aware of our behavioral patterns and discover other metaphors around us that appear in the form of otherness. For me, those metaphors have appeared through teaching, follow me below..
During my reflection, I realized that I teach an average of 16 – 18 courses per academic year, which amounts to about 270 students per year. This means that I’ve had about 5,400 college students in my classes over my teaching career so far. (Whoa) Each student generates something tangible in each of my courses, which has led to thousands upon thousands of variations of creativity that I witness every day. Even a basic “positive and negative space” assignment can result in countless variations of execution. I have witnessed over 27,000 student examples. Not one of them, not a single one has ever been the same.
As a metaphor, this vastness of creativity becomes “Meta” because it goes beyond my comprehension of something that I thought I had an awareness of. It’s a spiritual metaphor because it’s humbling to realize that the creative potential of humans is so vast and infinite. I see amazing variations and solutions to the same series of project expectations, year after year, student after student. There is one constant thread, the abundance of endless variety, and that things can always be another way. Always.
So, when life circumstances rear their ugly head, I recall that things can always be another way. Always. It may not be in the way that our egos demand it be, be another door will open, and solution will present itself in time.
I cant un-know this.
Through this reflection, I’ve learned that our everyday occurrences can have much deeper meaning, and the world is showing us things every day whether we are aware of them or not. I continue to share my stories and awareness’s at the beginning of each and every class that I teach. I encourage my students to reflect on their own experiences and find deeper meaning in them as well.
More to come!