I. This is post 12 of 15 that are due for my blog along. I’m just typing that out so I can get how many posts I need to catch up on to make my 30 posts in 30 days.
II. Monday, I went to my first pottery class. I have to admit that I had a few difficult moments because the instructor seemed a little whelmed and occasionally slightly exasperated. I was really struggling with centering and opening because these techniques were demonstrated from about 15 feet away and I am half-blind (literally), so it was hard to see hand positions, etc. I did my best on my own, but did eventually have to ask for some one-on-one guidance (which, while hard for me to ask for, is included in the price of the class).
III. So, anyway, at one point after assisting me, he said to someone across the room that “high energy people” tend to have difficulty with throwing pottery because it’s “so zen” and I started having bad feels about myself, because, yo. I am high energy. I am enthusiastic. I am excitable, and I love to learn. I was giggly and upbeat and totally into it even when I was making flop after flop and getting mud everywhere including my hair, all over my clothes, and on the floor around me. I was in full-on happy child mode which is exactly what I’d hoped to get out of the experience, so I’m not going to lie. This commentary, even if it wasn’t directed at me, stung a bit butandalso being in that state is extremely vulnerable for me so I could very well have been misreading/projecting.
III. The owner stopped by my station at one point and was the absolute opposite experience for me. Zero sense of his being whelmed or impatient. Helped me figure out what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong. Demonstrated alternative hand positions since I was struggling with the ones I’d been shown initially. Absolutely oozed kindness. Left me feeling empowered. Inner kid felt a lot better after that encounter, and you know what? That says a lot about the quality of these two teaching styles.
Let me always strive to provide the latter kind of experience for my students. Let me always check in with myself before I teach to ensure that I am not whelmed or impatient because our inner kids show up to these classes and it is way too easy for them to misinterpret an instructor’s state as being our fault somehow.
DULY NOTED ALSO THAT I CAN TURN ANYTHING INTO A LEARNING EXPERIENCE.
IV. Despite the mixed feelings, I didn’t let it ruin my night, and ultimately, after I took a deep breath and reminded myself that this guy wasn’t “doing me a favour” by instructing me – I paid for this instruction – I had a fucking blast, and over the course of the last two days (yes, this experience has taken up some bandwidth in my traumatized brainmeats for sure) I’ve concluded that if my enthusiasm makes me a difficult student or if I’m not “zen enough” for this particular instructor, or if learning will be harder for me because I’m not a quiet little mouse of a zen potter, well, I can live with that.
I walked home after class absolutely covered in clay. I’ve picked up a twelve-pack of bar towels and two aprons because your girl is a VERY MESSY POTTER.
V. Speaking of teacher/student experience, I am taking a beginner’s drawing class (truly for beginners) from New Master’s Academy and in the introduction to the fundamentals course, the instructor talked about thinking of the part of ourselves that wants to learn to draw as a wee soul fragment to whom we must be extraordinarily kind and with whom we should be extraordinarily gentle. My whole body melted and I felt super relaxed and inspired and this amazing teacher will get all my money from now all based on that one little pep talk – one that my students know I give all the time. Thank you Steve Huston. You are a lovely human.
And that’s all I’ve got for now because I’m saving some thoughts for later as I attempt to catch up on my Artfully Wild Blog Along where I’m blogging every day (ish) in September. You are welcome to join me.