Why I teach…
Teaching takes courage but at the same time, it takes humility. It is my goal to make out of each student, a better designer than I could ever be, a better thinker, and a better problem solver.
You could say I started teaching as a youngster. My past times were drawing, reading the encyclopedia, writing and rewriting my notebooks, and playing teacher with my younger brother.
While those experiences will hardly make anyone a teacher, it did show an inclination for the academic environment. School, books, notebooks, forms, exams, classrooms, and all that came with it was a safe haven where I found that ideas had no boundaries or limits. Images, graphics, words, and geometry became subjects that fascinated me. However, it took me a long time to get here, to the place in life I am at now. All the many turns and twists became a fascinating collection of stories that brought me to teach in academia.
I hold a degree in Art Education, therefore I am very familiar with lesson planning, objectives, rubrics, organizing a syllabus, and classroom performance. However, it was my first grad school design studio where I found the perfect convergence of what I was about: logical and creative thinking. I realized that design thinking and research are really the best avenues to instill critical thinking to solve problems. The combination of theory and practice in the safety of a classroom allows the muscle of creativity to become stronger and agile with each project and experience. But design does something else; it allows the designer to embed each project with a worldview, a belief system, and a personality. It gives the designer a voice. With that voice comes great responsibility: we are responsible for each design that is produced and marketed.
I teach because I believe the world would be a better place if we were all exposed to the design process, design thinking, and design research. I believe that the design process makes each one of us a better citizen of the world. I teach design because it encourages and nurtures the ability to solve complex problems by learning to think both in divergent and convergent ways.
As we all know, teaching is not an easy task. Many factors can get in the way of a productive and satisfactory learning experience. Because teaching is a two way street. both the learner and the teacher learn not only from each other, but about themselves. It is process of reciprocity in which both parties invest. The process should make us vulnerable, honest, and open to get hurt sometimes. As we are dealing with fellow human beings, there will always be a risk and a chance to get hurt.
Teaching requires trust. Trust is both strong as death and fragile as a delicate figurine. It bonds both the teacher and student in a relationship that is based on mutual respect, apprenticeship, discipleship, camaraderie, mentoring, and eventually we become colleagues. Trust takes a long time to build but it only takes a moment to lose it. Because of this, I teach from a place of transparency. I am honest about my failures, my triumphs, and my feedback. This can be scary for some students and at times could be misinterpreted. However, the rewards far outdo the shortcomings. It is my goal to make out of each student, a better designer than I could ever be, a better thinker, and a better problem solver.