Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Balancing Act

It has been heart warming to have both level one classes sending in their homework.  At this rate, I think everyone will complete their homework and get it to me.  And if not, well sometimes Life Happens and we can't always do what we want to do.

A discussion on a group I belong to was talking about 'perfection' and how if we aren't perfect we have - somehow - failed.

It is a concept I understand all too well.  When I was a kid in school, unless I brought home all A's, the focus was on what *wasn't* an A and a lecture on how I needed to do better.  Because a B simply wasn't 'good enough'.  I was expected to at least be in the top 10 in the class.  Woe betide me if I wasn't.

Working with textiles all my adult life I very quickly had to get comfortable with never being 'perfect'.  Figuring out that good was good enough.

That didn't mean I didn't try, try, try to do better.  To be better.

But, as a teacher, what is my job?  To rubber stamp whatever my students do?  To only point out their 'flaws'?

I try to be more balanced than that.  I try to encourage.  I try to gently point out where more attention needs to be paid by the weaver while recognizing what is 'good enough'. 

And some of the work truly is so close to perfect that there is little I can say. 

In my role as teacher I try to bring my decades of experience as a production weaver to share with the students.  I recently had someone comment - again - on how fast I was.  Yes.  I am.  I've spent my life becoming as efficient as I am.  Do I expect every student to emulate me?  No.  I expect them to become the best they can be.  And always strive to be better.  But I don't expect them to be me.

I see my main job teaching the Olds master weaving level ones as helping students understand the principles.  Of encouraging them to question.  To wonder why.  To ask 'what if'.  To set them up for the following levels.

It is not my job to tell them what to do so that they can get 'perfect' marks and Ace the class.  Because that isn't 'mastering' weaving.  That's just studying to the exam to pass the course.  And that isn't what it is all about.  IMHO...

1 comment:

Peg Cherre said...

Although I've not been able to take any of your classes, I believe your attitude - celebrate what's good and point out where improvements can be made - is what makes a good teacher. The 2 have to be done together. I'd love to be 'perfect' but long ago realized that I never will be. I do the best I can, and most of the time, that's definitely good enough. When it's not, I try to figure out what went wrong so I can make a new mistake the next time, instead of repeating the old one.