Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Teaching an old dog...

We have a break from teaching next week because it is half term, so it has allowed us some time to stop to think about how the first few weeks of our evening class have gone. 

Shoemaking is a constant learning experience, but this term I too became a student again when I began evening classes in life drawing. Being in a classroom environment, the oldest in the room by 20 years, being ‘on the other side of the desk’ and being taught by a 20 year old has been a strange experience...and it made me wonder what it must be like for our students being taught by James and I and learning new things as adults.

The pace of the evening class is certainly much different from the intensive course. Still very  concentrated, it is  more relaxed and steadily paced, without the looming deadline. As I do on a Tuesday and Wednesday evening for my classes, most of our students come straight to class from work often racing to get here by 6pm. It takes a lot of mental dexterity to put thoughts about work on hold and relax into the demands of a new learning experience, but hopefully it is also a very enjoyable break, as like me, our students are learning something that they really want to.

My new learning experience has also made me appreciate that people do evening classes for entirely different reasons. I turned up at class on Monday hoping to relax, rediscover my drawing skills at my own pace and be ‘invisible’ for a couple of hours. It was not to be, unfortunately, as the guy taking the class wanted to teach me. His comments and advice was certainly helpful, but because my mind was in escape mode, I was not as receptive as I could have been. Which made me think about our courses and reminded me that it is important to understand each student’s motivation and to respect  the fact that they might want to relax a little on some evenings more than others…to learn at their pace not at ours. 

So, with a masterclass starting on Monday, from here on in I’m going to try to keep my inner student in my mind when teaching. Happy shoemaking until next week!