Coming in to this second part of the apprenticeship I was excited to work with the Humperdincks. It was interesting to see how their opera was coming along and how they had come together in the last month.
One of the goals I had for myself was to try to help keep order in the group. It appeared to be easier than it turned out and I realized that kids need to have an outlet for their attention. I learned that if you focus less on who is doing what and more on how the group is functioning as a whole than you can avoid the tiresome task of calling out one student repeatedly. I also found myself bonding with most of the class instead of only the few who had stood out to me the first week. That was awesome because it gave me more motivation to come to class every day.
Walking kids from the library up to the classroom has been an interesting addition to my apprenticeship duties because it has challenged me in different ways than the classroom does. I have to think faster on my feet in order to keep them safe and together. Certain tactics haven’t worked, but I know better what to try next time. It’s a good feeling to see them see me and get excited to go to the program.
Creating a lesson plan was different this time around. I wasn’t able to find an activity I wanted to do with them that didn’t feel like something we had done with the students already. Reading the Teaching Artist Handbook helped because it made me think of my process as a writer and artist. which led to an activity that was a different way of exploring character development through sculpture. I think I did a good job executing the plan because most of them had fun, which was my main focus. Teaching-wise I think I failed because I didn’t teach them the skills they needed to create with the material I gave them.
However, the results they came up with where interesting — each student took the material and made with it what they thought would work. Even though they didn’t make what I thought they would I am glad that they were able to express themselves.
This last month has been different because I play a more active role in the class. It’s something I definitely have to keep working on as I learn more about the kids and the best way to approach them when I see that they are having trouble with a lesson or just not having a good day. As an artist I also have to learn how I can go about helping them develop ideas without always having to use art.
– By Felipe Hernandez
2014-2015 Teaching Artist Apprentice