I recently came across this piece I wrote a while back for a colleague of mine. He has written several books and one of them was on Teaching Photography. He asked me and some other compatriots of mine to write a brief piece about teaching and I wrote this one.
That class was an amazing class. Several of the students in that class have gone on to do amazing things - winning competitions, getting published, starting up their own businesses in San Francisco and New York. It was truly an inspiration class. And they're rare.
I had one like that last semester, as well, and it was so amazing I am still regularly emailing several of the students about their work, their inspirations, and flat out asking them questions to help me make my classes stronger. This is why I do what I do. For them. And as I start a new semester I am looking forward to having these types of classes again, though I have no idea how or when I will be that lucky. I had an amazing workshop class at UCSD Extension a few weekends ago, and I have some really great students in my Palomar PHO120 class. I just met my MiraCosta class yesterday and so far I'm really excited. Nothing is certain, of course, but I'm hopeful they will be great classes.
But I also recognize that the type of class I had last semester - the type that literally brought me to tears of joy, where we exchanged gifts of remembrance, and I think made a lasting impact on each others lives - those are a rare gift. Not to be squandered or forgotten or expected. I'm just exceptionally thankful that I recognized how great both of these classes were when I had them. I inhaled the energy from those moments of true collaborative inspiration each time they happened and I am able to keep pushing and keep expanding my curriculum and my teaching and my goals because of them.
It's always because of the students.