The other day, I pass my mother on the way to the kitchen for another diet Coke (to help me complete my massive collection of empty cans around the computer; they have a cute stick man trying to hold up a HUGE heart, and it’s kinda cute in the warnings on stepladders and large boxes kind of way) and say:
Kira: Mooooooom. Only five people have signed up for my online class.*
Mom: Well, I guess that’s why they call them starving artists.
Kira: You’re so mean.
*This was a few days ago. The number is now 8.
I relate this story to you only because I have now made TWO uber-awesome journals through my workshop and wish you would, too.
But this has really been getting to me. I guess it’s a New Teacher thing. Tonight, I teach my first class at Hannah’s (the shop I’ve been working with for a month or so, now), and we were all excited about the classes I’d be brining up there, except NO ONE signed up for the Saturday class and tonight, last I heard, I had 3 students. Which is cool. I WANT to teach, and so hell yeah I’m going up there and we’re going to have an AWESOME time.
Going from people expressing an interest in classes to seeing the actual number that sign up is kinda like, hrm. See, I was about to go all fangirly on y’all and compare it to comments on a fanfic, but that may not translate well. Suffice to say, the numbers dip drastically, and it makes you (or me, in this case) wonder if you’ve done something wrong.
Like, am I teaching the wrong thing? Are people intimidated?
I totally sat down to write about some new journal pages I’ve done, so I’m really sorry. Gotta get out what comes, ya know? And sitting on the morning of my first class at a shop and just before the beginning of a new workshop I’ve worked on for two weeks (seriously, I threw my back out with all the stuff I was doing around here for the new vids last night), I’ve got this on my mind. What can a teacher do but present what they’re excited about?
In fact, when all of this started at the end of last year, that was the advice I got from Mama-Bear Kelly: teach what YOU’RE excited about, because if you cater to what people tell you to teach, you won’t have fun or be as-good a teacher (I’m paraphrasing, since I don’t want to search through email archives).
And this all is the exact reason I was working while doing art: I didn’t want to get wrapped up in numbers and interest and hits and all that stat-following CRAP out there. Technology is great, but too much can make you want to hide in your room and never come out because then the Terminators will get you. Or something like that.
But then I got wrapped up in WORKING and stopped doing art and making journals and posting on the blog, etc, etc. I journaled maybe once a week, never really wrote anything, and stopped making my ‘zine (which I want to start again, though Art Journaling magazine kinda stole my thunder!). So now I’m here to focus on art and the stats and numbers come back and my bank account cries to me every night over the phone about how I never give her nice things and why can’t I be like Johnny and put money in her every week or two?
True, my situation was kinda thrust upon me, and as my friend put it, I’m stuck between a rock and a bigger fuckin’ rock, and I can’t move so I’m trying to make the best of it. But being home has me checking my email more often and twitter and I get bored and start THINKING. And once I start doing that, everything’s lost -- I’ll overanalyze everything, then get pissed and tell everyone to get away because I’m mad and they’re mean or whatever. It’s not pretty. Which is why I try NOT to think.
I guess the moral of the story is I’m going to get supplies and make tonight’s class the best class in the world, and everyone else is gonna be sorry they missed it because it’ll be the best in the universe. And I’ll make a preview vid of the WISH workshop and put it out there and then sit back and let it happen.
See? I tend to over-think things. I’m worried that I’m teaching the wrong things, that I’m unoriginal, that I don’t have anything new or worthy to offer and let me tell you, looking at your work and trying to think up classes and workshops is VERY HARD. Really is. So I got excited.
This is probably all nerves about tonight coming out. And next week. I definitely don’t want the build-up to be better than the result, so I’m freaking that people will be like, “This is it?” when WISH goes up on Monday, or that after tonight’s class, they’ll cancel all the others I’m lined-up to teach and GAHHHH. I AM STOPPING RIGHT NOW.
I’m just FREAKING OUT because I’m no old-hand at teaching and am afraid of FAILURE. In the end, aren’t we all?
EDIT: I think, when I'm 30 or 40, I'll look back at this and be like, "Why the HELL was I all worried? I WISH my classes were smaller! And that things were that easy!" (because my future self is going to be AWESOME and self-assured and horribly famous. this is why dreams are so important, and that you visualize things). So I'm going to revel in what I have. And give my whole heart. I'm tempted to just delete this whole thing, but want a record of my journey.