Teaching Photography: Rediscovery

There comes a point in time when a relatively new teacher, such as myself (fourth year), feels like we hit a stride and all of a sudden our role in this world seems to take shape, things start “clicking.” This was that time for me.

For the first time, I feel like I am beginning to understand what being a teacher is all about. Teaching photography has it’s technical side just like science has its arty side. While very different in subject matter, where photography and science are similar is in the teacher’s role to nurture and guide his/her students, along the path of their education. Understanding that we are all human and that all humans are emotional is one of the great realizations I recently rediscovered.

An interesting correlation: I am enamored with the new television series, “V.” If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s a remake of a series by the same title that aired back in the 1980s, it’s about an alien race that visits (hence the name of the show, “V”) planet Earth. The Visitors are void of human emotion and see the aforementioned as a weakness, to the point of killing any Visitor with the slightest sense of “feeling.” Slowly, the Visitors are becoming aware of love, pain and stress; they like the feeling these emotions provide.

Just like the show V, my students feel the stress of a heavy work load, their family responsibilities and pressures of everyday life. Add to these feelings the pressure to find success as they enter into a world saturated with images, both lasting in content and mundane. Knowing the challenges students face today, I realized my role as a teacher goes beyond the study of art/creativity. My role is to walk the fine line between when to gently encourage and when to push students to the next level.

Each student comes to the classroom with his/her own work ethic and aspirations. What I have realized about my role as teacher, is that not only am I here to educate my students in the art and craft of photography, I am here to help each of them harness work through emotions and rediscover their voice. My role as a photography teacher is to help each of my students realize the potential within themselves to be successful, and the need to start working TODAY, because tomorrow is too late.

~ John Trefethen

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2 Responses to “Teaching Photography: Rediscovery”

  1. kalanbaird says:

    Nice reflection. Thanks for sharing it. kb

  2. Thanks Kevin. Teaching is as art, one constantly undergoing change and needed improvement. I appreciate that you took the time to comment.