Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Evaluating teachers 101

Well, last week was a huge climax of finals, a bad cold, the starting of school for my kids and surgery.  My other health issues are  managed but I still had those pesky cysts on my thyroid.  So I worked my ass off in my classes and had surgery on Thursday.  I've been high on pain meds since.

My grades are in .... they are all B's I was sort of disappointed that I worked endless nights, constantly sacrificing spending time with my children and doing fun stuff for the entire summer and still got B's. But to reassure myself... what I am experiencing is what I believe many artists encounter and is that people do not understand their art until later on when they find some success.  Especially if you are like me and do everything out of the norm. I am purposefully trying to be different.   Additionally, teachers adore the idea that you look to them with blind allegiance and I am not that student. I take what they have to teach and evaluate how it works for me. Teachers are just other people on their journey.  And the sad truth is that gets me "B's"

I've always sort of freaked people out, I'm outspoken, accidently rude because I always say what is on my mind. That was one huge difference between me and my first husband people always liked him right away but with time saw through him and saw he was full of bullshit.  A sort of socio path type.  On the other hand, some people get put off by me at first, and then later on once they get to know me see I am a genuine and kind person and like me better.

So I am finding that is the case with my teachers. I always try to do something different and my teachers are always trying to put me in a box with all the other students. Now they grade me on how well I fit back into the box. What they don't understand is that I could do what would fit in the box. But that is the easy way. I puposefully try to do something different, often putting double or triple time into the project than other people and I still end up with a B.  This is the first term I didn't get an A in any of my classes. But I know that it really doesn't matter what grade I get, what is important is what I learn.  And I have learned alot. Obviously it does upset me to a point because otherwise I wouldn't be going on and on about it. But ya know.. whattya do.

Grades really are irrelevant. They help when you apply for scholarships though.

My main bitch this term is one particular teacher... for my Motion Graphics class.
 (see http://motionographer.com/) if you are interested what this is all about - thats  just an example of the type of stuff she teaches, browse around.

also here is a random reel of someones showing their motion graphics skills I found on youtube. This is not mine and I don't even know them but I think it is a good representation of what the class was teaching

  This teachers fancies herself  a design teacher (versus a teacher of how to use a computer program) and she is very talented in the biz....she knows and works on/with people in the tv/web/film/game/advertising industry. She just isn't a good teacher. If I had a job for motion graphics I'd hire her. But if I had a job for a teacher I wouldn't hire her. She fancies herself  a leader in design and attempts to inspire the students to be great and by seeing herself this way she wants to show us the very very best work she can so that she can send us out into the world each week with an assignment to create the best motion graphics we can.

We have a 3 hour 45 minute class each week. What she would do is spend  1 hour and 1/2 critiquing our work from the week before (often extra critical and falsely polite),  1 hour and 1/2 of the class showing us really awesome stuff, and  then a break for about 20 minutes and then about 20 minutes of instruction on how to use the program. After effects is an extremely powerful program and this whole system she has is a perfect formula for hitting your head on a brick wall in sheer frustration.

Inspire us set us free with no skills. I've spent as much as 45 hours on one project for a one week project. I worked endless hours working on this stuff, I was there every week and still because she was not that into my style I got a b. That part sucks ass, I'm not gonna lie, she made me hate the class.  One guy actually argued with her in class about the fact that she treats us like we are a team of trained professionals. When this is the first time 95% of us had ever used After Effects.  She tells us what she thinks we should do, and then criticizes us for not doing it perfectly.  Overall, I just think it is completely the wrong way to teach a class.

What should be done is before we ever have her class we learn the program. Then take her class.

On the other hand  it reinforces even more how wonderful my photography teacher form last term was. She had a compassion about her that mixed with concise communication skills, information, and being available for questions ....  put together made the perfect image of a Teacher. Someone who devotes their life to helping others learn.

As a college student for a year I have definitely learned alot, and that is how to recognize a good teacher and how to recognize a crappy one too.