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Choosing to Inspire

Mystery Shore, Maine

I’ve been teaching workshops since 2009, and have probably lead over 60 workshops in total. It’s been a fantastic experience so far, and I’ve learned much more that I would have ever imagined had I not decided to become a workshop instructor. It’s also a privilege I am grateful for.

One key thing I’ve realized is that there are multiple approaches to teaching, some more effective than others, sometimes by a large margin. You can imagine the different scenarios based on your own experiences in school. There are the easy going teachers who simply recite information and knowledge, the teachers who intimidate us (the ones who do the most damage in my opinion,) and teachers who judge us.

But there are also the teachers who encourage and inspire us to be better than we think we can be. It only takes one to make a lasting impression for life.

I’ve had my fair share of all types, but the ones I remember fondly were the ones (perhaps only one from my childhood) who changed my way of thinking, the way I way I saw myself and the world around me. Not only did that profoundly change me at the time, but it also had a lasting impact on the way I approach teaching myself.

I prefer to inspire rather than to criticize or judge. The former places the focus on the student’s well being whereas the latter places the focus on my ego. That’s not to say that those who criticize are wrong or misguided, or even ineffective. But within the context of what I’m trying to accomplish in my workshops, inspiration seems to provide better results in my experience.

And in this context, we’re talking about personal creativity, not winning the Super Bowl or curing someone of cancer. Art is something we do for ourselves first, then for others second. We satisfy a yearning to articulate how we feel, and we gain confidence and validation from how others value that articulation.

But it’s not a life or death situation. For me, it’s far better to work from a place of confidence than a place of insecurity. That confidence can be razor thin, but it must exist to some degree. And I want my students to have that confidence as well.

Without it, sharing your vision will be really difficult.

This Post Has One Comment
  1. I agree completely, I am much happier for someone to say they like something then add a little “maybe – what if” than straight out saying that is bad and go on telling me what they think, especially if they don’t know what I saw and how it looked on taking my picture.

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