School's been out since the end of April, and this post is long overdue...
I've been teaching Conceptual Process and visual language for a few years to first year students in the BAA Illustration program at Sheridan College. (Some of the 95 students from this year are pictured below!)
Balancing teaching with my illustration work can be draining, exhausting at times — but I love it. It's challenging, inspiring... Going through their sketches and ideas makes my brain bounce around in mental Olympics. It's a hell of thing, having to restrain myself from giving them the answer(s), to send them away frustrated and back to the drawing board, to patiently sit and wait for them to come to their own conclusions. I teach them what I know to be true, try to stay as open as I can to their arguments and oppositions (within limits). Through this, their hard work, their ideas, they teach me new things every day, and at times feel as though I'm a student right alongside them. And I am. You've got to keep challenging what you think are the hard and fast rules.
Teaching feeds me in a variety of ways. As I mentioned, it challenges the way I think, the way I solve problems when I'm doing a job or personal work. I relate teaching to being a guide — there are bits of preaching and postulating, but I try to keep that to a minimum. The trying part, the frustration can be the hand-holding, reasoning and cajoling required, my brain being completely sapped at the end of a teaching day... But damn my students work hard, they surprise me constantly and I love to watch their confidence grow, see their faces when something clicks, when they begin to 'get it'. I keep the bar high and they reach for it, and that's amazing.
This year was so great.
And HEY - if you're a teacher, you should check out http://www.edgeofit.com - I found it really really helpful in and out of class.