teaching and learning

I am musing over the education--my education to be specific. I don't understand why this seems to be important, but this random thinking floats in, settles, irritates me and moves on, occasionally but in an unresolved way. Maybe its just that I have been so pleased and refocused with this new world of illustration, this mid-careeer foible. Or is it? The first four years of design training got me into the game--despite the really rough and ineffectual curriculum and the approach to students being more destructive and dictatorial versus what I have experienced with Mentor Murray and to a much lesser degree, at Syracuse. Versus telling students what they cannot do, the approach is more encouraging but pushing the student back to his/her own devices, pushing the good stuff and leaving the bad stuff sit and steam. It is more about learning, self learning and giving the student an empowerment to take hold of what they have, (their talent, their salesmanship, their ability to put art with opportunity) and shine it up to get the best thing to happen to reflect well on the student, moments to build a career, moments to build job upon job to gain recognition.

Maybe this is because what motivates my Mentor is different than the rest. Murray loves to teach. He loves illustration and art. He loves the camaraderie of students and teachers. He loves to put people together who will bounce off each other to teach or inspire each other. He loves making connections through his actual teaching, or his life and living...He is a great matchmaker that creates new things. He is extrordinary at this.Murray loves to motivate and promote change--sometimes its uncomfortable with the learning or the self revelation but because he knows and wants to share that...comes, at least for me, a phenomenal amount of trust that when all is said and done, I would have moved ahead at least one. At Carnegie, what drove the teachers was their personal reputations they were building or had built--teaching was a way to extend their personal reach or validating the writing or involvement in professional institutions. This is the same at Syracuse. The professors instead of focusing on the growth and development of their charges--thinking, promoting and focusing on how best to move the development of the student's thinking and skill--they communicated their impatience with teaching, time in the studio the WORK around their jobs as professors keeping them AWAY from their own personal work, personal careers. It is/was teaching which was paying the bills that was keeping them from their chosen work, illustration. I think they may have gotten it backwards. Or at least I know they have gotten it backwards. The professor who told me NEVER, ever, to consider illustration probably spat that little gem out without thinking, without intuiting the impact it could have and did have on me. Good teachers push, are sympathetic but even more so, empathetic in their chosen job and love of teaching--of extending boundries for students--empowering them to be the best and to constantly challenge themselves to grow and change. To pursue this love with joy and hope--not stopping education with a No or Never. But a hey, why not..do it...do it...see what happens inspiration. Isn't that a better philosophy for learning? for Living? for your life?

more later