clennell on thu 20 oct 05
> SELF EVALUATION? SELF evaluation? May this gorgeous, charismatic,
> brilliant, accomplished, talented, charming, modest potter ask: IS there
> another kind that matters? A student is asked wot do you think of y'self.
> Student has self-confident, eager, joyful "I am wonderful"
> attitude...teacher slams her end of term. Student has pessimistic,
> depressed, hopeless " I am a failure at whatever I do" mind-set, teacher
> gives pat-on-the-back grade. Good grief. What a student should learn is to
> trust her judgment, to go for what SHE wants, change teachers if she does
> not get support, and develop the self-confidence she will need when she gets
> out in the real world, also known as the market place.
> So here is this kid, immature, awkward, uncertain, revealing these
> anxieties, or projecting bravado, and the teacher--not a trained
> psychologist I assume--uses this to leverage the grade. Oy!
I figured if it were me I'd be able to look around the room and be able to
see the best and the worst of my class and place myself somewhere in there.
The student to whom I refer can change teachers till the cows come home.
Some have it and some don't and some never will. Some students will never be
good potters. Why do we have trouble thinking that? We wouldn't ever dream
that all students would be great brain surgeons. Keep changing teachers
until you get it right. That's utter nonsense!
Pottery like brain surgury is a skill. A fine fine skill. Nobody gets hurt
if the pot fails but i find no reason to pass along a student that is
unskilled to an ever higher level. the mud pie maker gets her MFA all
because we need her money to operate the school and keep our jobs. Do you
see this as a way of boosting a persons self confidence.? I think it may be
a way of sending the student out in the marketplace(the real world) to fall
flat on their face. It may also disgrace your schools reputation.
I'm interested in your take on this.
Tony and Sheila Clennell
Sour Cherry Pottery
4545 King Street
CANADA L0R 1B1
Richard Aerni on fri 21 oct 05
On Thu, 20 Oct 2005 19:41:50 -0400, clennell wrote:
> I figured if it were me I'd be able to look around the room and be able to
>see the best and the worst of my class and place myself somewhere in there.
>The student to whom I refer can change teachers till the cows come home.
>Some have it and some don't and some never will. Some students will never be
>good potters. Why do we have trouble thinking that? We wouldn't ever dream
>that all students would be great brain surgeons.
I don't mean to muddy the waters, but I'll chime in on a slightly related
topic here. I didn't go to "school" to learn how to make pots. I learned
at a local pottery's evening class, or rather, didn't learn. I was a
terrible student, couldn't center, couldn't throw, couldn't design worth
crap, let alone glaze or fire. But, I'd been bitten, so I went home, built
a wheel, mixed clay, kept at it til I got a bit better. But, I was terrible
for a long, long, long time. When I thought I was good enough to hold my
own in the workshop class (monthly fee, unlimited access to wheels, etc), I
went there and hung with the best potters, soaking up whatever info I could,
and making as many pots as I could until one day one of the "pros" took me
aside and said, "Dick, you've finally arrived. The owner has started to
copy one of your designs."
My point? I think had I been in one of the college programs, I'd have
flopped miserably. The competition for wheels, kiln space, etc, especially
with kids who've had a headstart in high school, would have left me thinking
I'd be better off spending my parent's money on something more worthwhile.
But, left to my own devices, I let my own native (naive?) persistance guide
me, and I got up to speed. Back then (the early/mid 70s) academia had not
been so established as "the way" to get into clay, so I just went out and
started making and selling. It has worked out, in it's own way, over the
years. Ultimately, I've found my own voice with the medium, but my lack of
any degree or pedigree has hampered me in any number of situations. When
I've taught (workshops and fill-in at colleges) I try to give every student
as much encouragment as I can, because I CAN see myself in the lowliest,
humblest student, and I want everyone of them who can succeed, do so.