Monday, May 19, 2008

Finals Week: Lessons Learned

OK, I’ve complained a lot about the art history classes I just had to teach this semester. It was a huge learning curve—to lecture, to deal with so many students (most of whom I never got to know) and to evaluate such masses.
But I learned quite a bit. I suppose that makes me a more valuable teacher, maybe more hirable if and when higher ed starts to get positions again. I made mistakes and my students still liked me. I’ve filled in huge gaps in my knowledge of Art and made myself more confident in front of large groups.
There were a few great successes, students who came into my class not knowing Thing One about art, who rarely missed class, whose grades steadily improved. I had a black student tell me he never knew there were black artists. I had a student cross over to Mexico to search out a folk art sculpture to photograph, jumping fences and putting himself at personal risk. I had a pregnant student come to class today, whose baby is due next week. Pretty devoted.
So I guess it was worth it (she said in a quavery voice).
The administration has asked me to teach the art history again in Fall. It’s a hard class to fill because it’s so much work. I’m just afraid they’ll think I’m good at lectures and forget about my studio teaching. Can’t have that. Must figure out what to do.

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