Saturday, March 04, 2006

best teacher awards

I want to be good at what I do, really good. I want to inspire and inform. I want to be compassionate and understanding. I want to be a fantastic teacher. So what does it take to be that person who leaves an impression? Who really taught you something and made you understand?

The Responses

My favorite teacher ever was Chris Wiggins, not only because he was young and cute I could flirt with him in class, but because he was super smart and challenging as an educator. He gave the hardest exams I've ever taken (he could write those damn actuarial exams!) and he gave me bad grades despite the fact that he knew I was smarter than that. Thing is, I didn't study for his class and my grades reflected it. I guess I'm a masochist...

The best teacher I ever had was Bruce Reich who still teaches me music theory and composition (I'm taking an advanced harmony class with him starting in April). He is, among all my past teachers, the most passionate about the material, and the most thoroughly knowledgeable. He owns all the information he dispenses with complete, yet humble, authority. He is a master of harmony and counterpoint but has no ego about it. He truly just wants to pass along the information, and the passion, to as many students as possible to help them become better composers.

excerpted from Rose's response:

Prof. Jose Munoz, Prof. Barbara Browning, Prof. Bob Vorlicky, Mr. Piccioni, Mr. LoCicero, and Mrs. DeLuca.
In my experience good teachers foster a sense of community in the classroom and yet do encourage intellectual competition. They are encouraging but they do not hestitate to give constructive criticsm, and are available to discuss ways to improve your performance in the class. They tie things happening in the class to things you can use anywhere - in another class or in life. They are engaging people in addition to being experts in their subject, or at least extremely well prepared for what you're going to talk about that day. And any teacher gets tons of extra points for being extremely sexy.

My grandmother:

My memory is poor but I do remember my high school English teacher. She was very pleasant to us, always with a smile. She complimented us whenever it was due and showed us how to read and get the most out of any poem. Her enthusiasm would radiate and inspire all to read with renewed feelings and expression.

For me, from 1st to 8th grade the arts team at Meredith were my world. Ms. Linda Hayes, my drama teacher, Ms. Wolf (who was just pure love, joy, and creativity), the art teacher, Mr. Goldberg (who taught me to breathe enough to try to sing), Ms. Shepard and later Ms. Hall the dance teachers who taught me about being a DIVA.

Clyde Michael Hayes, my ballet and Horton technique teacher was fantastic because he taught me dance through anatomy. He put a science to this art form and made me want to push myself. Then he could pluck your eyebrows like a pro and tape your boobs so they didn't pop out of your costume. He also showed me a thing or two about being fierce.

High School was pretty uninspiring, with the exception of Mr. McMillian. Because of him I took two extra years of science classes in high school (Bioinstrumentation and Genetics). I loved biology. I still believe that Mr. McMillian's recommendation was the thing that got me into NYU. He was an amazing teacher because he knew what he was teaching, he didn't stand for any nonsense, and he always had well prepared labs for us. We applied everything we learned.

In college, Pepe Karmel was the man. He showed me all the art that would be the inspiration for my own work. Contemporary Art was one of the best classes I took in my major, other than my thesis class Art and/as Documentation, also with Karmel. He knew his stuff too. He was funny, quirky, and picked work to discuss that really fascinated me. I hadn't studied one female artist until my last semester as a Art History major. When I asked my Modern Art professor, a woman, why we hadn't studied even one female artist all semester, she told me that unfortunately none were notable. How could that be possible? AND, lastly, Pepe introduced me to Karen Finley.

KAREN, KAREN, KAREN. Possibly the most influential professor and the most fantastic mentor ever. I'm almost finished reading her book, A Different Kind of Intimacy (with an Annie Libovitz photo on the cover), and I continue to learn from her. What an amazing human being and a truly inspiring artist. She created an environment in her class where we could be comfortable to share our art and ourselves. I became the artistic and creative self I had never imagined I could be. I made work that was unexpected but important to me. I grew. I watched my views change and allowed myself to be bolder than I had ever been before. I gave myself permission to explore things I had previously been too fearful or disgusted by to tread upon. I played with vulgarity, and made it cute and clever. I want to get back to that. Karen... how did you do that?

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