Yesterday’s life drawing class gave me pause for thought: am I still needed? I have been teaching it weekly for nearly three years (about 140 classes, give or take) and in that time I’ve had students come and go, some attending the majority of that number of sessions. I am truly grateful for the opportunity and flattered that so many love my classes, but as we move forward I wonder if I am adding anything to the skillset of the artists beyond practice now.
I’ll explain. Most of those who attend my classes have done so many times over the years, if not regularly for more than a year or two. In this time I have covered numerous lesson plans, techniques, materials, and more. I’ve watched my group increase in confidence and skill. There is less need to comment on each individual’s work with constructive criticism/direction. Each is truly developing his own style. Each has heard me discuss similar topics for years now. I am beginning to wonder if I am needed…
What is needed is regular practice. The class environment – and having a teacher – is the weekly reminder for my artists to practice and to improve, but is this not something they can do on their own? Am I really adding to their development or is my class merely another reminder on a to-do list?
Perhaps I’m thinking about this too deeply and it is far simpler than my critical thinking regarding my teaching. Maybe people just enjoy coming to class, plain and simple. Maybe they enjoy the environment and my way of interacting with each of them. I can’t say. What I can tell you is that my students are far better life drawing artists than when I met them, and I know I have had something to do with that. I still enjoy what I do, and perhaps it’s enough that they enjoy it too. Might be time to poll them soon… Or push them harder. Food for thought.