This is my first year teaching art history. It’s a little strange. I look at my students and I don’t feel much different than them inside. I was them, but 13 years ago. I see the punk rock girl in my class and I see myself. I see the stoner in my class and I remember how I was when I was in my first year of college. I see myself so strongly in my students and I want them all to enjoy this experience and succeed at their degree. Its sad to think not all will.
I want to tell them these are the best years of your life; soak it up! Soon comes the real world and jobs you hate and bills you struggle to pay. This is a time to learn and grow and enjoy.
I don’t feel nor do I look much older than my students. It’s frightening to think that 10 or more years separate me from them. 10 years seems like so much and yet I listen to their music and them mine, we wear the same clothing (when I am not at work), I love skull clothing and black nail polish like my little punk rock girl, and I go out to clubs all night though not like I used to.
I love my classroom to be a place where anything can be discussed. No subject is off limits although some can be a bit off track. I think an environment where a student can ask questions (no matter how raunchy or strange as long as it is on topic) is a positive one. Art is weird and raunchy. It confronts and questions.
I also love my students and not in a creepy way. I want them all to come out of my class with a greater understanding of art and dare I even hope an appreciation for it. I want them to be changed a bit. In a few years, I want them to remember my class as sort of fun. I want in 10 or 15 years when they see a piece of art we may or may not have spoke about to remember things like chiaroscuro and tenebrism and tabernacles on Italian churches.
So, I guess the whole point of this is: I could be you (the professor) or you (the student) or you (the person). I am not that different from any of you and I think we have a lot more in common than you think. I am a punk rock girl, I am a dork, I love books and metal shows, I have an iPod and iPad and a Mac, I Facebook (thought I won’t share my acct with you).
The only thing that makes me really different is I do what I love (teach art) and I went to college for 13 years and counting. Yes, counting…