As a student learning is part of our daily lives. We interact with teachers and learn from them.
On the night of November 2, the Art and Advocacy class became teachers and gave lessons to the Mother’s Club on how to throw cups, paint and make slab cups. John McGlinn and I were in charge of the lessons on how to make slab cups, and if I learned anything from the experience it was that being a teacher is hard.
Explaining ceramics to someone who is new to ceramics requires you to take a step back and think about how the best way to communicate that knowledge and then break down the process into steps. Teaching how to make slab cups showed me a different perspective of the classroom: the perspective of a teacher. Just standing at the head of the table and looking out at everyone I had to teach was intimidating.
On weekends I teach swim lessons to little kids. I thought teaching them would help me teach mothers how to make slab cups, and it did. However, there was a lot of different aspects. One example is that when teaching swim lessons each kid usually takes a turn. During his or her turn I am focused on how that kid is swimming, they have my undivided attention. Teaching a group of people to make slab cups required me to divide my attention by going from person to person and make sure everyone was on track.
My experience teaching swim lesson helped me with this experience, because teaching swimming and ceramics are actually very similar. In swimming proper technique is required to go through the water fast and efficiently. When explaining the technique I have to break down each movement in the stroke such as breathing, rotation of the arms and the body, and kicking. Trying to do everything at once without properly practicing each movement by itself results in sinking.
In Ceramics, the same process is required. When teaching the Mother’s Club how to make slab cup,s I explained the process breaking everything down into steps, just like when teaching swim lessons. After showing all the steps I let them try to make the cup on their own and gave help where it was needed. They took it one step at a time and the end result was some beautiful cups.
Teaching ceramics was a challenge but it was also a good learning experience to see from a teacher’s perspective.