Saturday, November 03, 2007

Taking Crap at a Workshop

Not too very long ago, I went to a two day workshop. I will not be specifying what the workshop was about or who the instructor was. That is not the point. The point is that no one should put up with anyone's crap at a workshop especially if you paid to be there. Being an instructor myself, I will tell you that there is nothing mysterious or mystical about teaching a workshop. Everyone has different teaching styles. I just though that this instructor was very insensitive and that irked the teacher part of me.

It was a two dayer. On the first day, things were going okay. I did get something out of this workshop. Not technique so much as different tools that I could use to make my life easier. The technique part was okay. I could nitpick about the workshop but that would be digressing. Anyway, it was well into the workshop when the instructor came up to someone who expressed that she was having problems having a technique work. The instructor instantly told her that how she did it was wrong. She would have to take it apart and do it all over again. It could have been expressed differently, in my opinion. It could have been said in a nicer way so that the person would not have felt the embarrassment and humilation that I thought all of the rest of us felt for her.

First of all, I hardly ever follow the instructions to a technique. I might follow it loosely to get the technique down but I never follow it to the letter. If I ask a question, I just expect it answered or to have the instructor help me work out a solution.

Second, why could the instructor not just work with what she had and adjusted? At the same time, I was not the instructor. That was why my mouth kept shut and I kept working. I was pissed for her though. I felt so much indignation that I did not go back the next day. I bought the minimum I had to get through the workshop. If this did not had happened, I am sure that I would have bought more since it is stuff I always use.

I am sure that it does not make a difference in the scheme of things. My teacher side just flares when instructors forget that the students are people, too. I try to remember that with my own students. It does no good to disparage them. It especially pisses me off when you pay for the workshop and you get yelled at in front of the class.

Moral of the story? Don't put up with anyone's crap just because he or she is a "famous" artist. It is okay to express yourself how you want to express yourself. Some instructors want you to do things exactly the way they do it. I like to make the technique my own and not mimic what someone else does. Some people are more comfortable doing that. More power to you. You know yourself best.

I usually don't take a workshop now unless I have gotten feedback from someone had taken a workshop with that instructor. I stay away from workshops where you are penalized for not doing things exactly how they do it. Someone criticized my metal embossing because it was not as clean and straight as the instructor's. Please!!! I like my art off-center. Yeah, I am off-center.

Commentary over.


kelsey said...

Belinda, I can SO relate to this as earlier this year I was singled out (& balled out!) by an organiser at a workshop, because I dared to do something that the overseas tutor had asked me to do. This soured the complete weekend for me and I have never forgotten it. I too will not have anything to do with these organisers again and I don't care what wonderful instructors they gets to disrespect someone else in such a way. I'll climb down off my soap-box now.

Cindy Dean said...

You go girl! I totally agree with you. We are there to learn as adults and should not be treated like children. Actually children shouldn't be taught like that either!

Gina said...

I was about to travel to another european country for a workshop, but have decided to just stick with learning more about different techniques. I detest bullies. I am as blunt and direct as they come, but there is a modicum of respect that we are entitled to and I don't take kindly to people trangressing on

Karen Campbell said...

I haven't been to your blog in a while, but I had had to comment -- I so agree with this. I'm not the quiet little mouse at classes I used to be. I spoke my mind at 2 classes with problematic instructors -- and one of them I ended up cursing at. It took a few minutes for him to figure out he was the one I was cursing at -- but he chilled out after that LOL