As a follow-up to my post last week, I am happy to say I found a word for the year: RESOLUTE. Seems like an odd word to choose, but it rings for me. Resolute means determined to do a certain thing. I so want determination to drive me this year, but in order to be driven, I need to know where I’m going. Resolute is derived from the word resolve which means to find a solution. I personally need to resolve some things before I can be determined to get things done. RESOLUTE makes me feel powerful, determined to find solutions. I want that power behind me this year.
And in part of enjoying this year of determination, I’m taking classes. Fun classes just because I want to. I didn’t really plan the year that way, but it has become that. Taking classes is allowing me to see teaching from the students perspective. Along with enjoying what I’m creating/learning, I’m also refining my teaching skills. What seems to work (or not work) with each teacher’s style? If the teacher’s technique works, I wonder if is there a way to adapt that style into my classes. Its been a great learning opportunity for me so far.
Last night I attended the first class in an 8-week drawing course at the community college. I’ve taken drawing classes before, but unfortunately after several decades of not practicing my so-so skills have become sub-par. I enjoy the teacher, her style and energy…but the students…they were so critical of their own work. This was the first night of a beginner class. So, I wonder if you’re a beginner, why not let yourself begin? When a baby learns to walk, they don’t run a marathon the next week. It takes time to build confidence and new skills. Students need to have patience with themselves.
I face these personal critics within my own classes. Adult students want perfection from the moment they start something new. I don’t understand where this comes from. I myself am a “recovering perfectionist” so I understand the mentality, but I don’t know why I learned to be that way. Over many years struggling to be perfect, I discovered that the perfectionist that lived in my head was keeping me from learning and enjoying life. I realize as a teacher of adults, I must also be a coach and cheerleader, not just someone who teaches skills. I must convince my students that they must allow themselves to be imperfect in order to learn.
Understanding this, I hope I’m a good student. I am following the exercises and observing the results…good, bad, or indifferent. I will have faith that my teachers are guiding me on a path of success. That’s all anyone can do, have faith. I am determined to try, learn, and embrace the imperfection.