Not in this for the warm fuzzies… part II
I love teaching. I also love being a graphic designer; it lets me reach out to the world from that creative core within me. It acts as a second voice, a voice that can reach pitches far beyond mine, and can tell stories I could never hope to vocalize with the spoken language alone. Long story short, it’s great.
Now, I’ve got no illusions that I’m fairly pampered; I’ve only had a couple of industry experiences, and they were mostly positive. I’ve worked under good and bad bosses and I can say that I came through the experiences relatively unscathed. Now I’m a teacher, and my full-time responsibilities are to crack the next generation of designers out of their predisposed notions of what art is and teach them how to use simple tools at their disposal to find their own voice. I love that “bing!” moment when the light goes on; it’s why I do this.
Now, being college-bound is a very “safe” experience; as Dan Aykroyd told Bill Murray in Ghostbusters, the private sector’s a scary place; they expect results. Not that results aren’t expected of instructors, but it’s definitely a much different experience from freelance graphic design.
Anyway, this brings me to my first point: prima donnas. I see them every day; they come, often with no idea of their own potential (for good or ill,) and, having one or two successful projects under their belts, suddenly transform into spoiled, whiny artistes, demanding that no one critiques their work in any but the most positive possible light, complaining that they cannot work in a computer lab under supervision because they’ve purchased dual 70-inch monitors for their home use and can be ever so much more productive there, blah blah blah blah blah blah BLAH the list goes on and on until next Tuesday.
Look, I’ll break it down for you: I’m not here to tell you you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. I’m here to BREAK you out of your rut and let that creative instinct out, no matter how wild and crazy that instinct might be. The effort you put in to your work is proportional to the amount of praise you receive from me. Is your work crap? Maybe. Did you spend every available second in the lab, trying new thing after new thing, researching, asking for peer and instructor critique at every chance, sweating blood for your finished piece? Does that affect my opinion of your crap work? CERTAINLY. I would much rather see a crappy bit of student work that had some effort behind it than a crappy piece of student work from a talented student who just phoned it in.
I’m not here to make you feel good about yourself. If you’re talented, SHOW ME that talent. If you’re not talented, but you really really WANT IT, show me that and we can work on what you have to make it a solid skill… but God help you if you come to me with a crap attitude, crap effort, and a list of demands as long as my leg, because at the end of the day, my own ethics require me to be a tyrant and you’ll find you get nowhere with me.