Thursday, September 10, 2015

It's Because of the Students

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.