In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “We Can Be Taught!.”
What makes a great teacher? I was, a grade 1 ‘outstanding’ tutor of post 16 education for a number of years. Does this make me a great teacher? No. I could play a very good game for 50 minutes. Did it enhance my teaching? No, if anything it took away from my ‘greatness’. Did the observation and grade make an ounce of difference to my students or the perception they had of me? No. So what does make a great teacher?
After 13 years of teaching. I would quite easily answer this question with a bullet pointed list.
• Listening – how many teachers listen? I leant all about my students by listening and observing, I may even go further to say I cared!
• Addressing the students by name – in the over populated classrooms in England some students are overlooked. I always felt it was important to address each student by their name from the day they enquired about my courses. After all, without them I had no job. They needed to know they mattered.
• congruence. I would always work along side the students. I would do the collage, painting, printing. I didn’t dish out orders, I was involved. I demonstrated and let them make their own learning by being part of it.
Will I be remembered for my Grade 1 ‘outstanding’ by OFSTED? I doubt it. From what my student say to me even months after I left the ‘rat race’ of teaching is that I was someone who ‘cared’ to me. That is the best teacher of all xxx
When i initially read this I instantly thought of a suit of armour. Sadly I feel it necessary to wear this armour as I do not tend to be too resilient (yet) to what other people say or do. During my teaching I learnt from an anger management course, that what we hear may not necessarily be what was spoken, and what was seen may be misinterpreted by individual life experiences.
But as I think further about my inner most self in its true, natural form it would probably look like the Thistle Down Coat designed and made Adrian Bannon from the seeds of the thistle plant. I saw this piece on display in the Textile Hall at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester, UK.
It sums up the fragility of my innermost self.
Would I dare to wear it? It would probably be a case of how long would it last if I did? Until I build up my resilience to people, places and situations I would probably say no….
The armour would be more appropriate in this day and age, but if I was among friends who love me and know my true inner most self then I would wear it, and if it should break or become tangled, I know they will help me to mend.
Sometime you just have to be in the right place at the right time. This morning I was enamoured by a dolphin swimming in the sea, it’s not an everyday occurrence here in England but today the performance was just for me.
The day ended much as it began with being in the right place at the right time. I hadn’t planned to capture photographs today but the opportunities were there. Not only were they there, but I took them.
I was reminded today of going that extra distance to get the fullness of what can be seen. Life can be like that. You can go so far, taste the sweetness but then stop often thinking that either you don’t deserve any more, or that to go further would spoil the experience. However, by going further, your perception can change, the sunset deepen and the richness becomes richer. Why settle when you can have more?
Moving from the ‘rat race’ into creativity has opened up a whole new world. By challenging myself to enter into more experiences I am learning more about myself, others and that life can really get brighten if you just go that little bit further! X
Why not comment on where have you found yourself in the right place at right time and share your photos xX
Here are mine to start you off. Enjoy the views! Xx
“Art is unquestionably one of the purest and highest elements in human happiness. It trains the mind through the eye, and the eye through the mind. As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.” ― John Lubbock, The Pleasures of Life
Tonight I’ve been thinking about the notion of learning for learning sake. On spending time with friends this evening I looked back at the last few months of my development and realised that I have learnt for learning’s sake rather than to acquire an accolade or qualification.
I have always considered myself the underdog. The youngest of five and the one who had siblings to compare myself against. For many years I chased not to be the ‘beautiful mistake’ and it was quite clear than my artistic side was just mine. It wasn’t shared by my siblings but a gift just for me.
This gift was ignited and encouraged by my wonderful Aunty who delighted in the creativity of children. Was this where I got my passion for teaching?
I always wanted to be as good as my siblings…. It was only February this year that I realised that I only undertook any form of learning to be the best at whatever it was I was doing. I craved the status that qualifications gave me and the letters after my name were often used as a weapon against my doubters.
I realised in February, that I am enough and that just recently, after completing another qualification in teaching, that I had done enough to be all that I have ever really wanted to be. I love teaching and I love art. I love making a difference to people’s lives through helping them to develop skills and belief in themselves through art.
Someone asked me tonight what my blog was about, I answered that it was about escaping the rat race into creativity. So what has this got to do with the subject?
The rat race, as I call it, focused on the results, attainment and retention of students and as a tutor I focused on the difference in the students from the start of the course to the end. I looked at how they had learnt to handle themselves better and communicate in a manner that was acceptable. I focused on the shaping of the beautiful diamonds that left my classroom regardless of their grades or percentage of attendance.
I was constantly told ‘take emotion out of it’ but how can you when all your life’s goals have been to make a difference? The two different viewpoints did not mix and I needed to escape.
I have seen miracles in my classes and I will forever have their names imprinted on my heart. I do not take the credit. I just work with the gift I have been given. Art has been the teacher in my classes. The patience learnt when studying a still life, the emotions learnt through expressive typography, the teamwork and communication whilst building a 3D tower, the self discipline learnt when working in teams and the silence learnt when listening to others.
These are the gifts I can pass on to others, These are the skills that were past on to me. Today I learn for learning’s sake. I no longer feel the need to compare myself to my siblings or prove my worth. I have a gift that is only mine and I’m happy that that gift is the gift of creativity.