February 23, 2007 at 10:18 am (art, culture, life, thoughts)

I see my artistic practice as an extension of my desire to prove to myself that I’m still here, I’m still alive, and that I matter. I see teaching as an extension of my artistic practice, one that moves the focus off of me and onto a community of young artists that I try to nurture around me. It seems to me to be the next logical step in my practice.

I’ve been thinking about this stuff lately. Actually, I think about it all the time, it’s just that lately I’ve been thinking about it more. I want, endlessly, to be a better teacher, just like I endlessly want to be a better artist. There is no endpoint; when you do something really great, it just raises the bar even more for next time. And when you fuck up, you just have to dust yourself off and start again, hard as it is.

Tom offered me the opportunity to propose a course for SVA’s summer pre-college session. I should do this: It’s the kind of thing I’ve never done before (teaching high school students) but would be fun to try and lord knows I could use the money. I’m just not sure how to go about it. What changes when you’re working with students much younger than you are? What do they need to take away from the experience?

I don’t know. This has been a really long week in Teaching Land and I’m probably overthinking this way too much. But that’s what I do.

*Update* – in that way that everything at SVA seems to work at a breakneck speed, I woke up this morning and wrote the following course description while still in my pjs. I sent it on to Tom who really liked it and is going to push for it to run in July. I’ve been getting excited about it all day. So if you know any super-amazing high school students you want to send my way, please do!!! As tired and as, er, hungover as I am, I’m really happy to have a new challenge come my way.

This class will be an investigation into three key concepts championed
in 20th century art-making practices: collage, process, and
site-specificity. Every class will feature an historical lecture and
discussion of some of the key figures involved in each practice,
enabling the students to get a head-start on some of the grounding
concepts of Modern and contemporary art. Assignments will involve a
variety of media, including but not limited to: painting, drawing,
design, digital photography, installation, performance, and sound.
This class offers students a chance to sample a variety of different
disciplines and ideologies in a hands-on manner, in the pursuit of a
practice that reflects their individual interests.



  1. Andrew said,

    I think teaching younger students is pretty much like teaching older students. If you dumb anything down too much or edit yourself too much, they sense it and don’t respect you for not respecting them. Thinking back to when I was in high school, some of the most important teachers I had were ones who treated me as an equal adult with valid ideas and opinions. You’d be surprised how someone much younger than you can rise to the occasion.

  2. kurt said,

    the difference is that the high school students will be slightly more shocked when their teacher says “fuck.”

  3. kimsielbeck said,

    give it to them amy!

  4. t said,

    amy, i did precollege @ SVA… this sounds way better than anything they offered then. let me know if you have any questions. p.s. i know some great kids to send your way. let me know when its official.

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