Evaluating my work so far
Skills-wise, I’ve reached a much better understanding of what is effective in terms of teaching children compared to adults. They respond enthusiastically to praise and ideas tailored to their work (listening).
Regarding my self-knowledge, I have consolidated the necessity for a mid-week break for myself, as constant contact with children in the loud classroom environment becomes overwhelming after prolonged periods of exposure.
Without a doubt, teaching keen first-time wheel throwers has been the most enjoyable activity while here. Most beneficial to my skill-set as a teacher has been the chance to go through students’ sketchbooks with them and offer tailored advice, and to have it received with respect, joy and appreciation.
As for developing personal skills, I have hit my stride with teaching the older teens, and am continuing to learn and build on what they respond to best.
Least enjoyable were the rowdiest classes (first year students, aged 13?), who challenge each other and authority at every turn. They were definitely the hardest bunch to teach.
I have very positive feelings about the work so far, and I think that this optimistic outlook has helped me take on board constructive criticism from staff, and has enabled me to keep up the right energy and mood required for the job.
Today I spent the whole day teaching and assisting a penultimate-year student, Jessica, with their work: they were interested in learning how to throw, and wanted to use it as an anchor for the rest of the term’s work, if not looking even further ahead and using it for the next year and a half (I’ll have to ask Julie [my supervisor] how that develops!).
Thus, I taught them the necessary skills and processes by which it would be possible for them to independently make two small vessels after I had centred the lump of clay. I essentially taught Jess how to throw the first pot off the hump, and the second one off the wheel-head.
Inbetween my constant supervision of Jess, I helped two other students pick out the glazes and underglazes for their work.