How I Ended Up Traveling The U.S. Getting Paid To Draw, Write & Teach: Part 6
Part 6. On Week 2 I got bored out of my Mind and became a Terrible Teacher
October 2008 – Pasadena, CA
I was worried. After only 5 days I was bored of teaching the class, and I was signed up to do it over and over again for the next six months.
Two weeks before my second swing teaching I was told not enough people registered so I’d be teaching a ‘Best Of’ on Monday.
‘What does that mean?’ I wrote back.
‘It means that the beginning and advanced tracks will be combined into a single track’ they wrote.
‘How was this possibility not mentioned once in my three days of training?’ I wondered.
The challenge made Monday’s class interesting and new, and surprisingly the day went great because of it.
But on Tuesday it was back to the grind of teaching the same class I’d already done 6 times. I could tell my students could tell just how bored out of my mind I was. Wednesday was the same.
My partner missed his flight Wednesday night, so Thursday I taught solo for the first half of the day again, but Friday was the same, and I was no better off than I’d started.
Another month passed, and I was off on the road again. My partner this time was a guy who’d taught Photoshop for 15 years, and was a part of the team that originally invented it.
“Really?” I said, “What are you doing in the same job as me, then?”
He went through a series of life choices he’d made, most choices littered with Photoshop Trainer name dropping. I had no idea someone could do that much Photoshop Trainer name dropping. I got the impression if left alone he could amuse himself for hours with the sound of his own voice. But he knew his stuff cold and compared to him, I knew nothing.
The class started that Monday with a 30 minute intro going over the day. I carried my intro with a string of ‘ummms’ and he carried his with a string of Photoshop puns. Of the 50 students, only 8 headed to my room. By an hour in I was down to four. Still bored out of my mind, I hoped those four would head his way as well. Each time I taught, the class was getting worse. What kept my partner, who was going on 15 years of teaching this class, motivated?
‘This is just the wrong job for me,’ I thought while standing in front of the classroom.
That night in the car I asked my partner how he did it.
“I’m basically on auto pilot mode. I’ve done it so many times.”
“But how do you stay inspired?”
“Well – I did stand up for a while, and I think of it a lot like that. Every day I’ll adjust it a little bit. Test out new things. Try to improve it ever so slightly. I just try to have fun.”
We got to the next hotel, and that night I went through my lesson plan, and redid as much as I could. I found better images. I rearranged the order of how I explained things. I incorporated answers to questions students were asking that I hadn’t thought up.
It was hard to put myself in the mindset of someone who had never used Photoshop before. I needed to instill a wonder in discovering each new tool. I had a new challenge. Becoming spontaneous would not be easy.
Next Week: Part 7. So good I had to quit