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[teacherartexchange] Having fun with ceramics


Date: Sun Jul 23 2006 - 13:52:15 PDT

Well, I've been trying to get as much experience with ceramics as I can
before school starts. I've been volunteering every day at the ceramic league camp.
 I have to say that it has been a wonderful experience. Despite the heat (no
AC) and mosquitos, I am eternally grateful to the wonderful people I have met
at the league. It seems to be a win-win situation as they are very pleased
with me as well. During the camp, I help set up and then assist students with
their projects. The camp is divided into two groups, and they switch rooms.
In one room they work on handbuilding projects, and in the other they work on
the potter's wheel. It's pretty amazing to see seven and eight year-olds
making pots! After camp, I stick around and clean...wipe everything down, salvage
the clay, clean the tools, organize, etc...which has been great too because
I'm learning their system and getting tips all of the time.

I had my second experience on the wheel last Friday, and I did so much
better. I worked on my own, so I felt less nervous. I was able to center the clay
pretty easily, and I felt like I was understanding the clay more this time. I
made three cute bowls. My last one was turning out the best, and I was so
proud of it. I was just cleaning up the edge with my sponge, when I nicked it
and damaged the edge! Lee, one of the women who runs the camp, told me that
one time she was working really hard on a piece and did something similar at
the last minute. She glazed it anyway and ended up winning a top prize in a
competition! I looked at my bowl again and decided that I liked it just the way
it was. I got to glaze my other little pots from my first experience on the
wheel, and I'm so excited to see them tomorrow.

I feel like this all happened for a reason. I'm still terrified about age subject matter, but I'm excited at the
same time. On Friday, I really found that I was enjoying the clay so much. I
put on Billy Holiday and listened to the rain. It was just the two of us left
at the studio, so it was so peaceful. Lee made like eight pieces to my
three, but it didn't take away my feeling of accomplishment. I thought to myself,
"I could really enjoy this." I felt blessed that this new job and led me to
this experience.

I don't feel confident about teaching ceramics yet, and it will probably take
some time...but I do feel better than I did before I started volunteering. I
bought a bag of clay last week and took it home so I can practice on my own.
Tomorrow, I'm going to build a dog with the kids, so it should be fun.

I need to start thinking about lesson plans and how to set up my classroom.
Any thoughts? I've already printed out some wonderful advice from this group,
but I can always use how classroom management differs with high
school kids. What do they respond well to? I keep hearing more and more
positive things about my new school, and I'm excited to be working there. Our
retreat is coming up, and it will be a great chance to meet the staff. I'm really
trying to cancel out my fear with positivity...hoping that this will be a
really good experience for me.

Thanks again for always listening and sharing your wisdom.


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