Saturday, December 15, 2007

Out of a job...

After two great semesters of teaching, the college where I'm working will be closed down by the corporation that owns it due to a lack of enrollment. They're not taking any new students but they'll keep the school open until the current students graduate, which will be around March 2009.

In my case, as a first-term concept art teacher, that might mean that my own contract will be up in a couple weeks -- maybe more, but I dare not hope for more until I get something in writing. When this is all over, I will most likely not be finding another school to teach at, and become a private teacher instead.

Why teach privately? Well, let's look at some of the reasons I like classroom teaching over internet tutorials:

1: There's nothing like receiving blank stares from students to tell me that I'm going too fast, being too cryptic, or I'm being boring.

2: Having an audience really motivates me to study even harder. I'm amazed at how much simpler and clearer my understanding of drawing has become. I've learned that in order to master something, you should always be prepared to be reintroduced to it. There's a lot of metaphysical mumbo-jumbo and misinformation being repeated in many drawing books that needs to be straightened out. Repeating this tripe to students doesn't help.

3: Drawing for a LIVE audience is not for the faint of heart. I study and practise until I can reliably perform even under duress. The fear of screwing up in public is what motivates me.

4: I get to interact with people. Those few enthusiastic and bright and inquisitive students... I love helping them. It's so rewarding.

5: It's great to make people laugh.

Now, there are a few inescapable things that come with teaching at any school.

1: College has changed. It no longer holds the same esteem or prestige it used to -- it's no longer a place where only the especially bright and motivated go. It's become more of a rite of passage for everyone, and I mean everyone. A lot of people don't go to college because they want to learn. They go because they want to make more money, because the good jobs seem to require some sort of degree. People see college degrees as a product to be purchased, rather than as an achievement to be earned.

2: I get students who don't want to learn, who want to be told things they already know. They want to be reassured in their current ways. I can't stand a person who is averse to adversity. Worst of all, those who are bad students feel that they are entitled to good grades. They want to use my class to bring up their lousy average.

3: There are 15-20 students in each class. I see each student for 2-3 hours a week. I may see 135-180 different students in a given week. You can only dilute knowledge to a certain degree before it becomes useless.

Every school will have these problems and despite these problems I still love teaching, but in my heart of hearts, I know that if I continue on like this, I will become frustrated. I detest problems that remain unsolved, especially since I have it within my power and responsibility to solve them, for the betterment of myself and those few, bright students.

So I have decided to become a private teacher. How much will my rates be?

$15.00/hr - individual tutoring
$20.00/hr - 2 people ($10.00 a head)
$24.00/hr - 3 people ($8.00 a head)
$28.00/hr - 4 people ($7.00 a head)
$30.00/hr - 5 people ($6.00 a head)

Public lecture: $40.00/hr

I live in Toronto, Ontario (Canada), near the beaches. All lessons will be held at my residence, newsprint pads and pencils and use of equipment is included. I will be teaching draughtsmanship and digital painting, and it will be a pay-as-you-go service.

I will also be offering teaching over internet, but students will need a high-speed internet connection, a drawing tablet and a telephone. I will be able to teach up to 10 people simultaneously, people can just watch and listen, but the more people asking questions well... let's make the best use of the time. Payment will be via paypal at a flat rate of $20.00/hr. Professional constructive criticism isn't something I can flaunt freely anymore, unfortunately. In the end I always descend into hour-long diatribes that eventually become instructional lessons.

Of course, people can still always ask me questions online, but I may or may not reply, depending on my time.

Lastly, I suppose I'll have time to work on that DVD of tutorials that I've put off for so long and maybe a book...

Ug, maybe I should advertise on Craigslist...


Ted said...

I am sorry to hear that Mark. I have a serious interest in learning more about your Internet-based teaching. Could you contact me at tmilker at gmail dot com? I could not find an email address or any other way to contact you except via comments.

impClaw said...

Sorry to hear about all this. I hope good luck will reach you while teaching privately instead of at schools. I Really want to participate in your lessons, but neither do i live close to Toronto or even in Canada nor have I a paypal account to utilize the online offer.

Well, best luck to you.