A couple of years ago, I indulged in a reading from “I See Your Dream Job” author Sue Frederick. It was at a time when I was extremely unhappy with the work I was doing and completely clueless about what work I should be doing. I was working on my yoga certification around that same time and had a vague notion about maybe teaching yoga, but it didn’t really feel quite right and I was hoping for some spark of inspiration that would point me in my right direction. Among the many things Sue told me, the thing that stood out most was her strong belief that I needed to be teaching.
I was admittedly skeptical – my inner critic was quick to point out all the myriad reasons I was most certainly NOT meant to teach (too quiet, not talented enough, not qualified, etc.) and I sort of forgot all about it. Then I retired, starting making my art full time, opened my shop… and almost without realizing it I started sharing what I know. In fact, it sometimes seems like I absolutely MUST share what I know about art especially and I’ve found myself in countless teaching situations – one on one with friends, in my art groups, and yesterday, for the first time, in a formal classroom!
It was a bumpy start – got the stomach flu and had to cancel the original session, but (bravely) rescheduled and, even though the class was smaller, I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. Yes, I’m quiet and my voice was practically sore by the end of the day from making myself heard. Yes, I’m sure there are people who have done more art than me or are maybe better educated than me (though having curated a ~five year art education for myself, I rather doubt that). There are most certainly people out there who are more talented than me.
But, I discovered a secret – avid learners are often pretty good teachers. It doesn’t take a degree or a gallery show or publication to just share what you know… to guide people along the path of discovery… to soak in their excitement as a lump of whatever (in our case stamp-carving blocks) becomes something appealing. It’s probably one of the most exciting kinds of work I’ve ever done! And I realize the thing I’ve heard for years about teachers really being learners who aren’t afraid to share what they know in hopes they’ll learn something along the way… well, it could not be more true for me.
Many thanks to Maura for giving me a chance to try this and an extra special thanks to my students… Karen, Alice, Sherry, Sue and Medeah. I had a blast working with each of you and can’t wait to do it again!!