Learning the meaning of “economy” in the classroom (and in life).

So, it’s been awhile since my last post – understandable when you take into consideration that I’m just wrapping up my 6th week of full-time teaching in which I’m responsible for five (yes, five) foundations classes. During my first week my previous major professor (and continued mentor) offered some sage words of wisdom – observing that this experience will be a lesson in learning “economy” in the classroom, communication, and time management. Truer words have rarely been spoken.

In the emotional equivalent of being thrown in the deep end in order to learn how to swim – I’ve finally progressed past the giant gulps of air amidst panicked splashing and yelping, through the steadied breaths and comforting “swimmies” phase, and am now beginning to find myself in a place where I feel more buoyant and capable of real momentum. My classes are in full swing and so am I.

I’ve been working to streamline my overall approach and management of my classroom. It’s a lot of work but it’s also a lot of fun. It helps that I’m teaching foundations (2D and Color Theory) – which I absolutely love – and that my students are (for the most part) really positive and involved in the course material.

In the midst of everything I’ve been preparing for my second solo exhibition (post-graduation) and starting the job application process for next fall. Conveniently, much of what my classroom experiences (and my students) have been teaching me about economy has proved helpful in other aspects of my life as well.

I talk with over-achieving students often about setting achievable goals for themselves and knowing where their limits are so that they set themselves up for success rather than failure. It’s not always easy for some people to be realistic about how much they can take on and I’m certainly someone who struggles with this from time to time. I worried at the beginning of the semester that I might be taking on too much so early in my career but  after a month and a half I’m all the more confident that this is just what I want, and oddly – what I need. I thrive in situations where I have to push myself and I’m actually not horrible at balancing work, studio, and home without feeling like any one thing pushes out anything else – it helps that I try to be super organized. (And, it also helps that my husband bought me an iPad to help manage the stacks of paper and obligations that now consume my daily routine. Best. Husband. Ever.)

I actually got sick this week and I was afraid that I’d somehow lose control somehow but it hasn’t made things too difficult in the end. I was surprised by how easy it was to just push stuff around a little to make room for extra sleep and Netflix watching while I recovered. I have an amazing support system and it’s times like now when I am forced to step back from my life and stop moving that I can recognize how smoothly things are running otherwise. I’m thankful for the rhythm and glad to be returning to it now that I’m feeling better.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to integrate more blog posts into the mix as well.

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