Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Changing of the Guard.

I started teaching at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga (UTC) today.  
I have to say, being in an academic setting is not natural to me. The many  years of waking up at whatever time I want and strolling into my studio, staying until ungodly hours of the evening... well, just don't seem to fit with being a teacher AT A UNIVERSITY. Sounds more like a  first year student, if you ask me. Plus, I look younger than most of the people in the class.

And I giggle more. 

HOWEVER, isn't it when you are slightly uncomfortable that you learn the most??? 
I have a strange feeling that I am going to learn more than my students.
I am teaching figure painting to 3rd and 4th year painting majors. Even the thought makes me sweat a bit. Luckily, I had ten smiling, patient faces awaiting me today.

I'm REALLY excited. 

Being on campus, I realized today how bad I need to be doing this. It's pretty easy to get caught up in your own head, day in, day out, in a studio full of fumes (roll of eyes again).  Walking around the university you can feel the general dedication to learning .

Now, whatever your views are about our educational system (I could write a novel), I still believe there are people teaching and learning because they love it.  There are older students,  young teachers, awkward adjuncts (ahem!), young students in groups, jocks, nerds,academics,  anti-socials, ditzes, and all sorts of people there. And I can't help but think that a rather large percentage of them are there because they love something. Think about it... students pay WAY too much, and teachers get paid WAY too little....
And yet, classes are full. 
Something's gotta give.  
On a more personal level, I feel like there is a changing of the guard going on in my life right now. I have left a big building full of painters, some of them pretty comfortable in their routine (I mean that in the best of ways). They have been my uncles, watching out for my safe crossing into Chattanooga. Now,  I've been thrown out on the street, only to find myself in St. Elmo around a bunch of rock climbers, in a studio with all light directions except the one I am comfortable with, and teaching in a setting that is, well, like I said, slightly new  to me. 

Hmm. I've also have to wonder if this is not the way the last month of my 28th year SHOULD go. After all, they say your body regenerates itself every seven years (yup... you are a WHOLE new person every seven years). Considering that I am in my 4th round, maybe it is applicable that everything I have known should be tossed out like marbles and redirected. (yes... some of my marbles WERE lost).  

29. What will it be like? When I turned 28, I had more than one person tell me, "Oh, Honey, I'm soo sorry... 28 is pure hell". And It kinda has been. 
Let's see... heartache galore, first physical signs of wrinkles, realizing that I'm starting to be of the age that, in the south, is referred to as "old spinster" due to lack of a ring on my finger, finding that I am NOT who I thought I was, finding that many people are NOT who I thought they were, and the general concept of leaving what I have learned in school for my own ways.

Oh, WAIT..... those are all GOOD things.

Phew. For a second I was overwhelmed.

I TOTALLY plan on being a new person as of September 2nd, B T dubs. 

So.... 29. Any suggestions???  I like asking people what they were doing at my age (if they are younger, I ask them what they would LIKE to be doing... then I steal their idea:) Any last ideas for 28? I've got less than two weeks. 

There are a lot of birthdays in September, by the way. Apparently doing it around New Years is popular....

I wouldn't know about that, though.



shopsmart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shopsmart said...

I could say a great many things about this post.
1. I'm sure you will do fine while teaching. Don't believe the saying "those who can't do, teach." Like you said, you will probably learn as much from them as they will from you, which reminds me of another saying I once heard. The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. -Socrates I hope that didn't come out wrong. I'm just saying that we should all try to continue learning until the very end.
2. I think you are right about 28. I have 9 more months left and cannot even see the light at the moment.
3. ..........nevermind