Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thinking about Teaching...

I am awaiting it to become final, but I was offered to teach a course at the College for Creative Studies!
Concepts and Images.

I was first invited by Chido Johnson to give a lecture to his Seniors, which I was very happy to do, since I could talk about anything I wanted. I thought about how I wanted to recruit for and also help them think about how they're going to make the transition from art school to real life. Since I've never gone to an art school, I decided to just talk about what interested me in the moment, so I talked about my 'To-Do List' and my 'Stuck' list and about placebos and went on to explain how CCS is like one big placebo. One in which they payout lots of money and the more money the more it helps them believe that they are getting the best education in the world and if they truly believe it, they'll be something like 60% more likely to be successful in whatever they decide to do!

Well, I am REALLY glad no one told me that the new fine arts chair, Leon, was the one having some fun back and forth conversations with me the whole time. I politely asked that if I came back to talk about my work that perhaps I could get a free lunch out of it because I'm a sucker for free food and they said they'd be definitely interested in seeing if they might possibly be able to wrangle some money to possibly pay me an honorarium to talk next time as soon as I got back from Glasgow!

... insert Glasgow trip here ...

When I returned I got a mysterious e-mail from Gilda Snowden that there was rumor of having me teach a class and to talk to Leon as soon as I get back, couple minutes later an e-mail showed up from Leon about if I had 30 minutes to talk about something...

So now I'm thinking about what I've always wanted to teach, which is surreal, because I've always wanted to teach on a College level and here it is, possibly even competing with my idea that I just needed to go to graduate school! So my mind is running with possibilities! On a core level I will present what I think I could offer and what CCS students need more of with these ideas:
  • In order to teach inter-disciplinary practices one must engage with people outside of CCS, outside of Art. Or at the very least mix the rigid disciplines so that there is the possibility of hybrid works! Then again, this just may be the aesthetic that I'm personally drawn to...
  • Everything is simple, nothing is easy. Committing to a lifelong art practice requires finding those things that you can easily do everyday, that's the definition of sustainability. However it does require practice, and students will need to be able to identify how they can push themselves into making what is difficult but important to them, into something that's easy.
  • Students need to OWN their curriculum. An example: I foresee students being allowed to scour Detroit for events, happenings and locations, and then they get to make the rest of the class (professor included) an assignment, Miranda July style. This is inspired by a teacher I liked a lot, Robert Watson, now the principal at Northville High School, who had us write our own tests, and although they could be really challenging, it was such a great spin on the idea of what it means to learn in depth when you are the one making the test.
I have all these other ideas to prepare myself, like giving myself fake assignments to make captivating and interactive PowerPoints that deal with
  • Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and finding meaning (where am I coming from, where am I going, why?)
  • Bell Hooks "teaching community" and racism vs. privilege
  • Flow - happiness - inspiration - creativity - ideas
Everyday I want to be able to:
  • Create a comfortable studio environment where they feel like they bring something to the table.
  • Engage at least 5 students 1 on 1 for about 20 - 30 minutes
  • Shake up all of their thinking and preconceived ideas so that they find themselves in a heightened state of awareness. Facilitating what it means to think critically, to look at things in a critical way...
  • Exchange images, ideas, artists to check out and events
  • End on a positive proactive note!
"Teaching is all about managing expectations" - Andy T

Cartoon slipped in from the web comic: xkcd

1 comment:

Ryan H. said...

It sounds like you have some really good goals for your class. (If only I could enroll) I totally like the interdisciplinary stuff. I was big on that when I thought about teaching. How much leaked into the classroom is hard to say with all of the restrictions put on me, but I think the idea is vital to education.

Here's something you might find interesting- a small list of musicians who went to art school:
Pete Townshend (the Who), Ray Davies (the Kinks), David Bowie, Eric Clapton, Bryan Ferry (Roxy Music), John Lennon, Keith Richards, David Byrne, Brian Eno, the members of Wire, Laurie Anderson, and many more.