Gary's Third Pottery Blog

When the going gets tough, dragons gonna get going....

Gary's third pottery blog

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Time warp Tuesday and more of me teaching....

I seem to be using Time Warp Tuesday to tell the story of my teaching.  2 Tuesdays ago, just out of college teaching preschool, last Tuesday teaching blind multi-handicapped kids in Chicago, and today brings us to 1994 when the wife and I moved to Massachusetts and taught at a boarding school.  Ours was not a big name boarding school (I taught kids with learning disabilities, the snootier schools were more academically competitive than that) but it was a very beautiful school, very old, with an excellent education and facilities AND we played all the nearby snootier schools in sports, like Groton, Andover, Northfield Mount-Hermon etc.

We lived in Chicago and I had done some more graduate work, training to teach high school students with trouble reading etc., coupled with the wife's teaching background AND my expertise in art AND willingness to coach cross country and track AND our naive willingness to live in and manage kids in dorms....well, a recruiter gave us a lot of possibilities, and we went to the school that needed a new (remedial) English teacher who could teach pottery on the side with a wife who could teach photography.

You imagine that teaching in a boarding school is very DEAD POETS SOCIETY...and it is.  Old brick and stone buildings and orange maple trees and such, eating in the big dining room, all the tradition.  But it is also exhausting!  You are babysitting a crowd of teenagers 24/7!!! Many of the teachers, you later realize, are recent college grads (doing this for a couple of years before running off to grad school) for a reason:  young and energetic!  What we found in teaching there for 3 years was that although you and your spouse are always in the same area, you are not together in privacy.  Kids can and do knock on your door in the dorm at any time and you have to help them.  So, you teach them all day, coach them in the afternoon, have all your meals with them, then evening activities and study hall, sports on the weekend plus activities plus night duty on call..... Our vacations were much better than day schools, but still I could see that if I stayed in that environment I would go nuts, and wanted to instead leave at the top of my game before I became bitter and twisted.  Both the headmaster and department head asked me to come back when I said was leaving.  I am glad they did, it means I had done a good job, but I would have killed somebody if I made it a career ;) The wife said to me after 2 years "you want to be a potter?  You should be a potter!" (oh YES, she is the BEST woman on earth) and so we spent our third and final year teaching planning my new career as a potter.

Here are a couple of good pics, I am the dude with the big 'stache :)

(You know that Jenn started this and there are many of us who participate including Brightside Susan and smalltown me  and jen rants and raves and Tonya Lynn    and Fond of Snape  . Basically, a fun way to dig up and share some old photos!!!!)


Michèle Hastings said...

I am loving time warp tuesday and seeing pics of your past experiences... they are the stories that led you to where you are today.

Lori Buff said...

Another interesting look into your history. I'm glad you decided to go into pottery full time so we could become friends.

smalltownme said...

This gives me a new appreciation for the teachers at my son's school (he's a day student at a boarding school).

Janet said...

I didn't realize your wife taught photography! Is she still into it?

Susan said...

What an interesting way to spend a few years!

Jen said...

What I thought while reading this...
*Yep, I would lose my flipping mind.
*Your wife DOES totally rock. Not many women would encourage their spouse to give up a paying job to be an artist.
*I would love to see her photography. Did she continue teaching?
*It probably would have taken me 20 years just to make a successful pot! I took a required ceramics class for my art major and it was a disaster.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Your wife taught photography! Please tell us more... I think this is a blog post in itself.

My dh wanted to retire young (and did it) so you know I am all for making the decisions that make happy spouses!

Gary's third pottery blog said...

The wife is VERY private and would probably prefer not to share anything about herself and photography, although she is always welcome to :) She is indeed totally saintlike in her support in my life as artist but DUH! Its not like I said "I am never going to work ever nor am I ever going to earn a penny!" because I work harder now than then and it sells :) (but, of course, it is all FUN :)

Jen said...

That came out wrong! I just meant that the life of an artist is very uncertain, especially when starting something new! She obviously saw your talent and had faith in it.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

I know jen :) hope I did not come across as overly !!! because you are totally correct :)

JB said...

Teaching has never been a 9-5 job but the boarding school experience you describe takes that to a whole new level. Like a permenant school camp.I am worn out just thinking about it.

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I am a full-time studio potter, sculptor, and dog walker, married to superhawt Missus Tastycake.