Sunday, October 17, 2010

Back in Class

Thursday my classmate, Brian Buirge (who, lacking a proper online portfolio, I will reference by linking to the NSFW sensation that he co-created)*, was generous enough to allow me to sit in on a critique that he was conducting in his class. I really felt like an undergrad again, it was a strange sensation.

The class is a first semester junior level design studio so the students had all passed the first portfolio review. They seemed confident about their work for the most part. It was surprising to see that this was a preliminary critique of what equated to sketches and many of the students had well developed looking printed layouts already. Many of the pieces were beyond what I think I would have been capable of at their level.

Bryan told me that the method of teaching for that particular class level was deliberately restrained. The idea being that the instructor steps back during crits and allows the students to draw more of their own conclusions about their work and to help each other, with the end result being the development of individual styles. The students were particularly quiet that night which made for some long pauses and many threats of forced caffein consumption. I have to hand it to my colleague, he held back a lot and I know it took discipline. The project involved creating editorial type spreads about celebrities of the twentieth century and I found myself aching to share my insights into the careers and personalities of the people being featured and to explain why the pieces were hitting and missing. I could tell Brian was giving them bread crumbs which some of the students followed and some didn't. I would have found it very difficult to let any of them go knowing that they had missed a feature here and there that would really make the project perfect; but that was the point, they had to arrive there on their own, the instructor was just around for nudging and technical support.

I can't wait until I get a shot at teaching. I will be observing a freshman class next semester and I have been told that I will get to teach a class this summer for non-design majors. Having sat in on the juniors and having heard a lot about the freshman level, I have decided that I really want to teach the sophomores and I am going to work as hard as I can this summer to get that opportunity next fall.

*Apparently I was wrong.

Since I have no visual aids for the subject of this blog, I offer you this photographic study of geometry:

Maybe Bryce will render it for me.


  1. that's awesome you're going to teach! you'd be really good at that

  2. i hope you get to teach in grad school, at least one of us will be getting experience!

  3. Boogie, you need me to make a few calls?

  4. I know you'd make a great teacher, Jason. Give them SEVEN 2-hour projects. Seven.

  5. Thanks, everyone.

    Ger, yes, all at the same time.

  6. oooh. thanks for the shout out!

  7. I do in fact have a proper online portfolio!

    So there.