Friday, September 30, 2011

And Again, I Learn Something

Who dares to teach must never cease to learn. ~John Cotton Dana

As it is with every new teaching opportunity, I myself am constantly being taught by my own students. Last night was no exception.

This was a new experience for me, taking on a class full of adults--my peers, and more importantly my friends. I was nervous (of course) that they would wonder what the hell I was doing up there, that I would make a fool of myself, that they wouldn't have fun. But I stopped for two seconds before they arrived and looked in the mirror and said, "You've got this. The having fun is what matters most."

What I learned:

1. Two hours is not enough. We need at least three, maybe more because when you're in the zone you don't want to stop just because the babysitter needs to go home to bed.

2. Everyone does not remember the color wheel or lessons of color theory from 2nd grade. I started class by explaining that you can make any color of the rainbow using the triad: red, yellow, and blue. I knew this exercise would be perfect for loosening up our creative muscles, but halfway through the night someone asked how do you make green and I realized I need to go back to the basics every time to start. Don't assume everyone knows or remembers this stuff. Red + Yellow = Orange, Blue + Yellow = Green.

3. Even big "kids" like to hula hoop.

4. Sometimes it is helpful to teach by example. My favorite teachers demonstrate techniques really well and lead a class by working alongside their students. I think this would be really effective with adults especially, and I need to practice that for next time. I can teach and create at the same time.
5. Adult women are exactly like the little girls they once were. Some of them are not afraid to make a mess and dive right in. Others need more encouragement. Some don't like to lose control and work very carefully and methodically. Others let go and the paint and glue and paper flows fast and furiously. They can get stuck and tripped up playing the comparison game, feeling "not good enough" and self conscious. It's important for me to learn how to maneuver them away from this. Singing loudly helps. Chocolate helps. Wine definitely helps.
6. As usual I am blown away by the results. It is inspiring to look around the room and see what each person has created, how unique and beautiful each of their pieces are. I love the moment of discovery, the way a color or a scrap of paper or a photo inspired an entire design. I love the way each one of them sees the world.

7. No matter how old you are, it's brave to create, to put yourself out there and push yourself to try something new. That never changes.


  1. Wonderful as always,Amy. I think you should have a BraveGrandmothersArt!

  2. you are is brave to create. I am learning that daily, the amount of courage it takes to put yourself out there. So wish I could have been there to play with you. Thank you for your example of doing what it takes to make your dreams come true.

    love you big. xo

    ps we need to try hula and juggling together.

  3. i wish i could have been there. this looks like an amazing night with an amazing teacher. so much goodness going on here.