This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

November 23, 2016

Being backstage as a teacher

When I started teaching, at the Art Institute of Phoenix, I really didn't consider myself a real teacher. I mean, teachers sit at a desk with an apple on it, get spitballs shot at them, and hate their jobs, right? Not true.

I don't remember any spitballs shot at me, but I did have an apple on my desk, actually a Macintosh computer and it was hooked up to a giant screen so I could show people how to do stuff. And for me, it was just a way to show people how cool it was to create artwork using software like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I loved showing how to work with pixels and vectors. So to me, when the class started, it was showtime! I just loved it.

I've known a lot of teachers who would come rushing in at the last minute, or late, fumbling through their papers, trying to figure out what they were going to cover that day, grumbling and cranky. That wasn't me - I was backstage. I had all of my material prepared. I had practiced what I was going to say, including few funny lines if I felt brave enough to try them. I was anxious to get on stage. And that's the real reason that all of my classes started on time, not because I was particularly punctual about time, but because I'd been backstage, pacing back and forth like any nervous performer does, anxious for the curtain to rise.

I love doing Graphic Design, and I love using the software. I love showing it to people, and I know that my slightly giddy enthusiasm showed whenever I did a class, or a training session. Sometimes I would get so excited that it would sound like an old-time sales pitch on late-night TV. Think that's amazing? "Wait there's more!..."

If you went to High School in Phoenix in the late 90s or early 2000s, you may remember me as the guy who did "The Magic of Perspective" video. Yeah, the guy with the mullet. It's the only video I did, but I would have done more, but no one asked me to. And I stayed "on stage", at Glendale Community College, until 2011.

Getting up on stage for the first time in front of an audience is awful. And even when you get better, you're still nervous. My favorite motivational speaker, Joel Weldon, says that "you can never stop the butterflies, but you can get them flying in formation!"

If you've been asked to make a presentation, or be a teacher, I recommend that you do it. If you care about what you're doing, you will be thinking about it way in advance of the presentation. And you will be backstage early!

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