So, sometimes I teach.
It’s not in a credentialed capacity. I teach an afterschool program at Hawken Lower School, and then for the last few years I teach a week of cartooning at summer camp.
I don’t think I could teach regularly. I sometimes come off as having a lot of patience, but some of that is just storing it up all year to use it for that one week.
This was the biggest class I’ve had yet. I started out with eleven and then gained another two that transferred from the cupcake class. Five girls, eight boys total. They were also the best class I’ve had yet.
On a side note, I love that the girls in my class all asked for superheroes when I drew their end-of-class sketchcards. And when they got to name their Pictionary team, they named it “Hydra”. I love any time I see that gender line in comics coming down
Some of the kids have taken my classes for years. One of them actually graduated from taking my classes to being my teaching assistant. That’s the kind of thing that makes you realize you’re not just teaching some cartooning stuff to kill some time, but you’re actually becoming part of the fabric of their lives. I don’t think I’m a great teacher in any way, but when they keep taking my class, I know there’s something that they’re responding to.
We played dodgeball at recess every day. Everyone played and it was great. And we drew a ton. Basic stuff, advanced stuff. And, like I said above, we even played Pictionary.
Here’s the thing: It’s an honor to be part of these young people’s lives. Some of them I’ve been with for two years or more. And when we wrapped up, and Jake headed off to move to California and Riley to Australia and Eliza asked if she could be my assistant next year… look, I’m an easy touch. I cry my Dean Winchester tears all the time. But I wasn’t expecting this to affect me as much as it did. And it did.
If you’ve got a skill, like drawing, you owe it to pass it on. You’re a link in the chain and it shouldn’t stop with you. Teaching forces you to articulate and clarify what you think you know. Some of their questions make you better, too. You get as much as they do.
I’m so glad I said “yes” the first time I was asked to teach there. It was outside my comfort zone, but I’m so happy I went there.