My school has a great program of faculty grants, wherein teachers apply for grants to do things during the summer that are enriching but have nothing to do with their jobs. I love this program for a lot of reasons. In the past, I've taken a guitar-making class and drum set lessons. This summer, I'm taking a drawing class at the Delaware Art Museum.
This is an interesting experience for me because I've never taken an art class before. I'm not particularly artistic, but I thought that it'd be good for me. I'd like to draw some cartoons for Anders's walls depicting some fundamentals of physics, so this'd be a good prep for that. I'm not a good artist, so there's that.
Most interestingly, it's a chance for me to be a student again. Nervous, unsure, decidely non-expert - all things that our students experience constantly, but that we're far removed from now. It's a great chance to build up that empathy and to (re)gain perspective on what it's like to be learning something for the first time.
I didn't really even know what all of the tools were that I was directed to buy, but there I was, with my shopping bag full of 15 different kinds of dark stuff to smear on paper. Of all of the things that I learned tonight, the most important one probably has a lot to do with learning physics:
Draw what you see.
Our teacher kept saying that, and it was really true. Don't draw what you know. Don't draw what you remember. Don't draw what you think should be there. Don't draw what you think will look good with what you already have. Draw what you see.
In physics, I see that as not trying to shoehorn a new problem into the mold of an old one, not trying to sound artificially science-y when describing a situation, not trying to figure out what the teacher wants you to write, not worrying when you're not sure how what you're doing will lead to the answer. Just physics what you see.
I want to be public with the process here, because I want to be upfront for my students that it's cool to struggle with something that's difficult, it's fine to try in an area that you're not "into," it can be fun to work hard, and that being terrified about something doesn't mean that you shouldn't attack it head-on. So, we'll have five more weeks of class. Hopefully, I'll improve :)
Some pics from tonight!