I enjoy showing fun videos during class. This is one of them (and yes, I did the dance for my students).
Sometime last month, I had the opportunity to share my knowledge and experiences in a classroom setting. I was offered the chance to teach a few workshops on new media and basic video production, and I’m so grateful for this. I never realized how fun and how rewarding it is to teach and share. As I think back on the past weeks, I realize the entire experience has not only helped my students grow, but it’s taught me a lot too:
- Kids are kids are kids. No matter how old your students are, you always end up referring to them as “kids.” Once you have taught a good group of kids, you start calling them “my kids.” And then you catch yourself saying things like: “I just love my kids!” My students maybe college age or older, but to me, they will always be my kids. Smart ass kids at that!
- The best lessons are filled with the best stories. I can outline and draft as many lesson plans as I like, but I find that information resonates with my students when I use “real world” examples. It is one thing to tell the students to use headphones during a shoot. It’s another thing to tell them about the time I forgot to bring headphones, my batteries failed and then I had to explain soundless footage to my producer!
- Passion and Enthusiasm are required tools for teaching. I start and end every class on my feet. In fact, I don’t think I sit down once during my workshops. I’m all over the place: writing on the board, showing videos, pacing in between the desks. I just can’t contain my energy and I know I’m passing it onto my students.
- Grades go both ways. At the end of every class, I ask my students to grade themselves based on how much they knew at the beginning, how much effort they put in during the class and where they think they stand now. To my surprise, my students are extremely modest and at times they don’t give themselves enough credit! Sometimes I have to remind them that the effort they put forth is worth more than the output they can produce.
Last week, a student asked if he could grade me. Of course, I responded yes. He and his classmates began to laugh and enthusiastically responded that they all wanted to grade me. I couldn’t believe the outpouring of support and enthusiasm they shared. One of my students even told me: “You’re the shit!” Granted, I’m teaching a non-credited series of workshops where no one gets grades, not even me. But if I could be graded, I would hope that being the shit is worth at least an A minus (or at least some sort of salary bonus!)
As we prepare to wrap up the workshops (just one more left!) I hope these guys know that I’ve benefited greatly from their participation. I’ve enjoyed every minute of learning and sharing together. I hope I’ve imparted knowledge and skills that will serve them well. I’ve looked forward to the start of every class and I can’t wait to wish them well as they prepare to graduate and make their way in this world.
From here, we’ll no longer be instructor and kids, but hopefully, friends and colleagues.