Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Artist As Teacher
My first semester in Art School I waited in line to nab a class with an art god hero of mine. This artist shall remain nameless here, but needless to say I felt as thought the stars had aligned. Was it possible that we would be in the same place at the same time? Swoon! I couldn't wait to learn EVERYTHING about art.
So here is how the first few days of class went. The guest artist gave a brief introduction. I am, this is, I have been making art for this long. We then proceeded to view slides of his work for an entire week. When it was time to get to making, we all stood in a room drawing for the rest of the semester while the artiste sat in the back of the room reading a newspaper. In retrospect, I learned a lot. How to use a slide projector, which is totally useless, unless I travel back in time, and why it is best to spend my $$$ on actual instructors who are also artists and not artists who are instructors for a brief moment in time.
Years later while studying psychology, I would find the same thing. Nothing like spending months reading every book you can find about the oh so amazing analyst visiting from a far off land to find that Doc can write and is brilliant with patients, but when it comes to sharing how Doc does this, everything falls apart. In short, shelling out $600 for a snorefest of a conference is a bad idea.
I guess what I am saying is, just because you have mastered something, doesn't mean you can teach it. Teaching is as I see it a whole separate thing. Sarah and I think that teaching is a really important part of having a successful business, but you can't just decide to get out there in front of a class without a plan. To do so wouldn't be in the best interest of your business and definitely not in the best interest of the students who have come to learn from you. Teaching to support your business is kind of like a living breathing business card. You are showing what you've got live and in action. And in an energetic and engaging way. In other words, don't just teach your students how to use a slide projector, or in these fast modern times, Powerpoint.
If you freeze up in front of an audience, rate public speaking as your top rated fear, and generally do not like talking about your work, then teaching live and in person is not something you should do. If you would like to incorporate teaching into your business consider an online course, DIY demo on your blog, or writing some guest posts about your process, then of course send them over to Awfully Grand!
If you do think that holding court in the classroom is something you can and should be doing to support your business, come back and visit us on Thursday. I'll be laying out some tips for how to get yourself prepped.
In the meantime, you can catch Sarah & me tomorrow night at the Makeshift Society as part of Success Squad for Makeshift Members. We have a great presenter lined up and plan on addressing some design and business challenges. Also, I will be teaching my Boundaries for Better Business Class on Thursday October 11. I'll be droppin science about the human brain, how to deal with difficult customers and employees, and how to prep your business for customer service success. Join us. It promises to be fun!