So much was accomplished today that I can't even begin to describe it. I think there were several lightbulb moments from every student, in one way or another. And several for me, too.
Once upon a time, say about twelve years ago, I was in the last few months of a thirty-one year career in public education teaching, three at high school level and the rest at a university. As my retirement approached, in celebration of my full-time career with the institution, I was given a retrospective exhibit. At the exhibit reception, my husband (who always seems to ask the most pointed questions) said, "So, tell us what you want to do now that you're retiring from teaching." I thought about his question for a few seconds and said, "I want to teach." He said, "You're retiring from your teaching job... and you want to teach!" That interchange got quite a chuckle from the guests. And it made quite an impact on me, as well as my husband. Not the chuckle but that I'd said my desire was, after an official working life as a teacher, to be a teacher. Suddenly both he and I realized that being a teacher was not something I was now leaving behind. I would only be changing my arena for teaching and that my being a teacher was part of me in a deeper way than I'd ever realized in my thirty one years of full time teaching.
Anyone who's involved in the politics of institutional learning knows something about the frustrations and the drama experienced with a life in a full-time job of teaching. Yes, much good can and should be attempted and accomplished. But anyone who's experienced a workshop teaching/learning experience like those at Arrowmont knows that the essence of teacher-student relationships that feels so fulfilling and rewarding immediately can still exist--and does.
The lightbulb moments are what any teacher lives for, I think. I believe they are probably the most important part of what makes student/teacher interaction so rewarding. In the intensity of short one or two week long workshops, many lightbulbs are turned on all over the place, day by day... and they aren't restricted to one studio. What a light that's created! As the second full day here ends, the light is glowing at Arrowmont tonight. It certainly was bright in our tapestry studio.
So... a few of the photos from tonight as I left the studio:
Janette is also photographing her colleagues' progress. She's posting about the class at her blog: