My NYU professor pal and I had a cheerful row about a non-French-speaker who is teaching French at Houston Independent School District’s Energy Institute High School. She says that a good teacher should be able to teach anything. I don’t believe it. Looking convincing is not the same as conveying knowledge. Art, music and language classes are often subbed (out of necessity) by non-specialists, and it’s a disservice to students and teachers alike.
I never set out to teach painting; rather, it sought me out. A friend repeatedly asked me to give classes. I was so unsure of myself that I kept turning her down. When she found another friend to join her, I agreed to try it. I’d taken enough classes and workshops myself to have an idea of how it was done. I knew absolutely nothing about teaching and was terribly nervous, but somehow it worked.
We met in my tiny studio on the third floor of my house. The ceiling was so low that I hit my head on it going from painter to painter. If we needed a model, I would jump in and out of a pose while we worked.
My class quickly outgrew the space. We moved downstairs to a large bedroom on the landing. At times, I taught three classes a week there, limited by space to six people at a time. I was able to hire models.
Last week a fellow painter asked me how to organize classes through her own studio. I believe she has the two gifts needed to be successful at teaching: she’s a very good painter and she likes sharing knowledge. She’ll figure out the teaching as she goes. And why wouldn’t I help her? In the long run, more teachers mean more and better painters, more enthusiastic buyers of art, and more of an art scene.
This morning I finish up my very first session of studio classes in Rockport. I’m breathing a big sigh of relief, because this class has been successful and I already have students signed up for the next one, which starts on May 17.
Would you like to join us? We meet from 10 AM to 1 PM (bring your lunch or a snack). Pastel, acrylic watercolor and oil painters are all welcome. I believe in nurturing the development of your style, not imposing mine, so I focus on broadening skills in drawing, brushwork and color. Class size is limited so contact me soon, by email here or by text or phone at 585-201-1558.