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Re: new photo teacher


Date: Sat Aug 10 2002 - 20:19:32 PDT

Congrats on the job! If you can get a textbook, it can be a good thing. The
HS students seem to like having a resource to check back to. Set up darkroom
rules as rigid as you can stand to enforce. I tell mine that I will exclude
them from a week of the darkroom if they have food or drink in with them,if
they bring anybody besides a fellow photo classmate with them, if they fail
to clean up properly, etc. Just be sure youy are willing to follow through on
your threat. I kept a logbook day by day in a folder in the darkroom. They
were each assigned a day and time during which they had first priority to be
in the darkroom. They had to sign their names or initials and briefly list
what they were doing. That way I knew who had been using the enlargers or who
didn't wash out the developing tanks.
       I used light sensitive paper (the kind that is blue, gets exposed to
light and washed off with water)to get them used to the concept of positive/
negative and it is easy to continue on to photograms. This is good since you
can have them do photograms even before they develop film. Give lots of hand
outs even if you have a book. Give lots of demos. Have them troop into the
darkroom as a group. I'm always surprised that there are a few afraid of
being in the dark alone. I have everyone bring their camera in (without any
film) for a few days after we've talked about cameras and the basic concept
of how they work. This allows you to see what they're working with and how
they handle the cameras. Some can't even hold them correctly. I usually have
them load film in class the first time. Some even can mess that up. The first
roll of film I consider a success if at least one picture turns out. We
develop the first roll of film in class. Have old rolls of ruined film for
practice and make them show you right in class that they can roll film
without looking at it. Give lots of short quizzes. The first few weeks, I
give a quiz almost every other day. Thet learn quickly they they need to
memorize the info.
       Many kinds of critiques. One that works well if you are getting
observed or if it is group reluctant to talk. Post all photos for a given
assignment. I would usually thumbtack to bulletin board. Choose one and make
comments on it. Or ask someone to choose one and make comments on it. (You do
have to give them some critique ideas/ vocab) What best fulfills the
requirements of the assignment? Is the best technically? so on. Whoever
belongs to the chosen photo has to chose the next photo and make comments
about that. It keeps the discussion going without begging for volunteers and
everyone eventually has to talk as long as everyone has a photo up. I was
fortunate to be able to take my class (usually under 15 students) to an area
nature preserve with a water wheel and dam for a shooting field trip.
Everyone brought their camera and a lunch. We shot, we ate we made it back to
school for the next class. They loved it and we actually had photos that did
not include large groups of teenagers staring at the camera. Some students
will resort to that as subject matter if you don't give them other choices.
I'm done "texture, perspective, signs, aging, water" Hope this helps.