As of last Friday, I am finished with my teaching commitments at the private school I’ve been teaching my after school drawing program at since this past fall. And not a moment too soon. The whole experience kind of soured me on teaching in many ways. While I like to think I did some good, and I do honestly believe that I largely did make a difference on many of the students, it wasn’t a positive experience all in all.

The few rotten apples in the bunch really made things so much harder than they needed to be, with their constant mouthing off, interruptions, random outbursts, and general disobedience. Just getting them to sit down and be quiet was a chore, and after awhile they’d just forget about it and go back to their normal poor behavior. Usually I wouldn’t care. It’s their money and if they would rather goof around than learn anything, too bad for them. But the school had standards that I wanted to live up to, and it’s hard when bad behavior rubs off on everyone else and they all think it’s ok to act like that.

One thing that really got on my nerves is when I would be drawing something on the board, like the basic shapes of a standard human head, and someone would just yell out “IT LOOKS LIKE ICE CREAM!” or something like that. Then, someone else would have to yell out “IT LOOKS PIZZA!” or “IT LOOKS LIKE A BIRD!“, and sooner or later everyone would be yelling whatever nonsense they thought the simple shapes looked like, completely missing the point of the lesson entirely. I just hated that and I did my best to put a stop to it early.

Another thing was that the class took place in a room used as a high school English class during the day. The teacher who worked in their clearly despised me, clearly didn’t like the idea of his class being used for an after school drawing program, and barely said a word to me the whole year. He really hated the fact that I would, shock of all shocks, actually show up to work early. He actually expected me to just show up exactly when the class started, and didn’t care about the time to set up and prepare that any decent teacher should take before a class. I always left his room in excellent condition when I was done, but this didn’t matter to him one bit. On the last week of classes, I wanted to go in to the room a bit early to set up my laptop, and had given plenty of notice, but my request was refused the day before, due to some tutorial he was apparently holding. So I set up as much as I could out in the hall and waited until I felt it would be ok to go inside. Of course, once he opened the door to let me in there, the room was basically empty, meaning I could have gone in much earlier. I hope I never have to work with that jackass again.

On the bright side, towards the end I did some lessons I’ve always wanted to do. I did a drawing lesson using Spore, showing how to make creatures and having them draw their own. I would pick a drawing that the students did and make it into a creature in the game. It was fun. On the last day of the class with the older students, I brought my Cintiq and did a demonstration on digital art. Finally getting to do something like that was a great joy.

Anyway, for the most part I’m glad its over. I am probably being hard on myself, and it’s true that I’m never really satisfied, but still, it wasn’t a fantastic experience. I can take heart in the fact that I know for sure that at least one student in each of the 2 classes I taught got something out of it, and will likely be well on their way to a great artistic career if they choose. Maybe someday I’ll hire them.

I’m not totally done though. I’ll be back at that school for 2 special days this summer, and the other school I’m working at finishes up next week. It’s been a pretty busy year teaching-wise and there’s still the potential for more. It’s what I’m good at doing so, despite my complaints it’s not like I want to quit or anything, but that doesn’t mean I gotta like it all the time.



Leave a Reply