I have spoken to many trainee teachers, or individuals thinking of entering the profession. My advice, and of many of my colleagues is that this is one of the most exhausting professions you can undertake. So, after putting on a performance every day, I return home totally shattered. Teaching is an act, and delivering the design process and encouraging creativity is particularly full on. I put my entire efforts into developing the creative process in my students and understanding their individual learning journeys in their work. But how do I stay inspired to do this? I have been teaching for enough years now to understand that I will not please everyone and to cherish the eureka moments that happen each day. As well as the brilliant news when students achieve their qualifications and gain their offers from Universities.
But, most importantly I do not think you can deliver lessons in creativity without looking after yourself. So what to do? I regularly see works of art first hand. Many times outside of my Fashion and Textiles specialism. Recently I went to the ‘Australia’s Impressionists’ exhibition at The National Portrait Gallery, London. This is a small, lovely exhibition- and I find the tranquillity of the galleries refreshing for the weekend to contrast with the full volume week where I teach over 100 students. I was particularly drawn to the work of Arthur Streeton, and the golden glowing colours of the scenic images, along with bright blue seas. Perhaps a longing for open space? Again a contrast to the teaching environment…
I adore exploring, seeing new works of art, architecture and visiting new towns to see. Recently my brother took me to Hampstead Heath, and Kenwood House. Going to London twice a month for the best part of my life I could not believe I had not made it there. The most amazing, exquisite collection of fine art, utterly free to go and view. We spent many hours photographing the light and morning views on the Pergola. The beauty in the natural work was so inspiring early on the Sunday morning. I enjoy exploring London on Sunday mornings, the city feels far more tranquil.
So how else do I ensure I maintain time for self-creativity? Where I am living at the moment I have joined a life drawing class to attend every week. Again, very refreshing- as I spend all day threading up sewing machines that are apparently ‘broken.’ All of these opportunities gives me enough time to return to work tomorrow, and ensure my day goes with enthusiasm, and however much I am doing things I have done for many years before! My students have not, and that they leave, with what a student said to me last Friday morning with the opinion that ‘Textiles is the best subject.’