Society of Decorative Painters -
1220 E. First St. Wichita, KS 67214
Phone: (316 ) 269-9300 Fax: (316) 269-9191
Hours of Operation: 8:30 - 4:30 Central Time, Monday - Friday
Contact list with Emails and Office Phone Extensions
Hello Everyone! It's time for Pumpkins & Turkey, soon to be Santas, Snowmen and Holly and then the New Year. It's a great time to work on projects to teach in the New Year. As a teacher, you are a student's introduction to SDP and the decorative art world. You will soon be receiving Issue #4 of the Decorative Painter and 2012 Conference Specials. Take a few minutes in class to share it with your students. There are some great classes offered, take a look at them with the eyes of a teacher and see what you can take home to teach to your friends, students and chapters. I have been asked many times about why I still take classes as a teacher even after making art for as many years as I have and my response is the same. “I always learn something from every class I take.” There is always something to learn, be it a technique, a method of teaching, or a new medium. Keeping an open mind when it comes to trying something new is a benefit to you as a person and your students. Are you teaching at the 40th Annual Conference in Wichita? If so, be sure to let your students know about your class and Conference. (Need Conference Specials for your non-member students? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and she'll be happy to send you some.) if you have a website, please post conference info there, too. You are more than welcome to link to the SDP site at www.decorativepainters.org. An email signature with the Conference theme, dates and location is another great way to help spread the word! Enjoy this issue of Teacher's Happenings.
This is not a title of a Dr. Seuss book as you might think but questions that could be asked of you at different stages of your career. I like the comedy of Dr. Seuss and many of the books are uplifting, silly and sometimes goofy. The words all go together to form a story that does make sense. There is often a hidden meaning to these stories which read in a rhythmic manner. Let's see if I might be able to make sense of these titles obscure questions like those whimsical, nonsensical stories we read to our children and grandchildren.
Would you? If given the option, and asked in a timely fashion, would you think about teaching for a chapter event, seminar or apply at the national level or a mini convention? Think about it, and think about all the time invested in your studies, the enjoyment you've received making new friends, meeting up with old friends or planting a seed or helpful hint to a fellow artist.
Can You? We can all give of ourselves by sharing our skills to enhance others. It gives you the delight of accomplishment by enhancing and developing your skills. Those "aha" moments are priceless when a student understands your teaching. Sometimes, those "aha"moments come back to you making you a better teacher. If you sense your class does not understand your method of teaching, you get to choose other creative ways to reach them. Many times the gift is yours because teachers learn by teaching. Creativity is not just how great of an artist you are but simply put how you can expand and create new ways to enjoy our art form.
Could You? Do you have time to write instructions for a class that you wish to teach? Some people work very well under pressure while others organize ample time to write ahead of schedule. Instructions can be easy or difficult depending on your students past experience. We teach best what we like most. If you like the analytical approach, use it. If you like a more abstract method, encompassing more varied intuitive insights, use it. Writing can be yet another avenue for creative people and changing up the normal routine can be appealing to many students. Clarifying instructions is a teaching tool. Know that many questions will be asked if you’ve not made your instructions clear. Enjoy the process! You will learn a valuable lesson from this knowing what and how you’ll change your future writings. Keep it simple as much as possible.
Will you? Will you consider expanding your skills using the TDP manual written by some of the best teachers going and sharing their own personal avenues of teaching? There are a group of women that would love to share how they became a TDA and why. Help is a phone only a phone call away and there will be yet another class this year offered by TDA experts leading you step by step through the process to become the best teacher possible. Since we all have something to share, let's share it by teaching.
Debbie Slavin, TDA
241 Beverley Ave.
Red Bluff, Ca. 96080
Do you teach in your home or home studio? Holding classes in a home setting can present some interesting challenges for maintaining a professional environment.
Why "keep things professional?" Unless your students are all of a like mind, some probably like to talk while they paint, get up and move about frequently, have coffee and/or snacks, arrive late or leave early, take phone calls or text, and regularly forget their checkbooks. Others are always on time, want to accomplish as much as possible, and dislike distractions. As their teacher, you must decide on the decorum of your "classroom," and establish rules and guidelines that will be fair to everybody. Maintaining a "professional" (not formal) atmosphere makes this easier. It's still friendly and fun, but everyone knows what to expect.
Collect class fees in advance One of the biggest issues we have as teachers is the timely gathering of class fees. Some teachers collect their class fees each week and find it a nightmare to keep track of who has paid, who owes for last week, and who owes for classes they missed. Try having students pay every three or four weeks on a schedule you determine before the session starts and that you give them at the first class. At the class before fees are due, remind everyone that fees are due next week, and follow up with an email reminder to bring their checkbooks. If someone still forgets, request they mail their check to you the following day. If you have a business account, and you should, you know that some accounts charge per deposit, so it only makes sense to deposit checks all at once. With a little planning and consistency, you can minimize this problem
What should I charge? This varies somewhat by geographical area, so ask around – ask others who teach all kinds of art classes, fitness, performance, etc. Get a general idea of what classes cost and consider what you're offering – limited class size, individual attention, etc. And increase your fees regularly by a little. If you don't do it for a long time, you'll find yourself in a position where you have to increase fees by a substantial amount – ouch! For instance, if you increase your fees by $0.50 an hour roughly once a year, it only increases the weekly fee by $1.50, based on a three-hour class. This is much more manageable for the students than an infrequent but sizable increase.
I can't get a word in! How do you control talking in a home environment (or any class environment)? Everyone loves to chat, and when a class has been together for a while, it becomes an integral and important part of the group's dynamics; however, you are trying to teach a class! Try this rule: No talking while you're instructing/talking. (Also, no pencil sharpening or other noisy activities.) This works well with only an occasional problem when you are helping an individual student and the volume gets too loud! Monitor the conversation: if the subject turns to politics, religion, or hurtful gossip, try to redirect things by interrupting to instruct. Usually everyone will forget what they were talking about and go on to something else. If not, start a new topic, or if you have to, suggest that those topics are best discussed outside of class.
Oh, those cell phones! What a problem this has become in so many venues. Make a rule and stick with it: Cell phones must be off or silenced (including text alerts) during class. If someone must accept an emergency call, designate an area away from the classroom – another area, the foyer, outside if you have to – where they can have a quiet, brief conversation. And you follow the same rule – let the machine get your phone. Speaking of "outside," allow absolutely no cigarettes in the class building. Many people are allergic and there's just too much evidence about illnesses caused from exposure to this.
Oops! Coffee and snacks are wonderful and go so well with making art! But accidents happen, and when someone spills, it almost always goes on someone else's work. A designated break time and place are best.
Of course you must have a bathroom available; it goes without saying that it should be kept clean and well-supplied. If you teach in water media, put a container of water on the table and have students dispose of dirty water in a bucket. Paint is not good for your plumbing! Brushes can be cleaned on palettes or plates, or at home.
Should I sell supplies? Decide how you're going to handle the sale of supplies. The internet makes it so easy for everyone to collect things that you could end up competing against people who sell for less than you can purchase! I inform my students that I will stock basic supplies as long as they support me by buying them from me. When we need something I don't stock, either I order it for everybody or everybody's on their own, a decision I make in advance. The important thing is that everyone knows how this is going to work so you don't have all of your profits tied up "on the shelf." Be sure to keep supplies visible. I rarely sell anything that isn't on display. If you're teaching in your kitchen, consider a "rolling display," a cabinet or something else on wheels so you can put it away after class. Mark prices clearly on items – some people don't like to ask.
Set a good example Be ready for class and start and end on time. You can't expect your students to do it if you don't. And don't allow students to linger after class or arrive more than a few minutes early. This is your home, and you and your family deserve this consideration. Picking up supplies other than at class time must be discouraged, although it is occasionally necessary. Be sure your classroom is neat and clean, and handouts are on the table. Handle any class fee payment at the beginning of class, and try to take care of supply sales at break time if possible, or have students keep track of the items they will purchase, and add them up as class concludes. We all love children and pets, but they don't belong in the classroom. This can be especially difficult at home, so work it out with your family before you start.
Publish the rules One of the most important and effective steps you can take is to type up a list of the "rules" for your classes -- I call them my "policies." This document spells out what I expect from my students and what they can expect from me. I send it to them late summer each year along with a reminder about classes starting in mid-September and the Fall Schedule. If anyone is going to drop out for the session, this usually motivates them to let me know so I have some time to fill their seat before classes start. It's also a reminder of the way things work. I've included my list below to give you a place to start on your own "policies."
You probably started teaching because you love to paint and you like people. It's much easier to maintain those attitudes when you're happy with the way your classes are going. Your students will be happiest in a classroom where they know what to expect from you and their fellow students, and where they are accomplishing something. Establishing and sticking with some basic rules/policies prevents misunderstandings and let's you concentrate on what you love to do…paint and teach!
Sample Policies Notice
TIME: 9:30 a.m. - 12 noon
PLACE: 2085 Cook Road, Charlton
DATES: April 6, 13, 20, 27; May 4, 11, 18, 25
FEES: $17/week payable about once a month: $51 due 4/6, $51 due 4/27; $34 due 5/18
1. Projects will be chosen by the group for each session. The majority will rule, and these projects will be instructed step-by-step. By arrangement, there may be students who will work on their own projects with assistance from time to time.
2. If you must miss a class, notify me before the class, and I will send you make-up notes with the person who lives closest to you or by mail. There will be no refunds for missed classes.
3. I have many wood pieces on hand for you to choose from. Surface fees will be due when surfaces are picked up. I also have pattern packets for sale and books you can look through for ideas.
4. I will keep usual supplies on hand (palette paper, basic brushes, matte spray, Krylon Satin spray varnish, etc.,) and will be happy to order other supplies when you need them.
5. Coffee and tea will be available. Snacks are always welcome.
6. Please call if you feel the weather warrants a cancelled class. Generally, we will follow the Burnt Hills school system for our class. 7. "Summer Session" will begin the week of July 10 and go for five consecutive weeks. We will discuss the details as it gets closer. Fall classes will begin again the week of September 11.
In the world of decorative art, we find ourselves in a constant state of learning. Knowledge can become our number one priority. Sometimes, though, the more we learn, the more we recognize how much further we have to go. There are so many different medias, so many techniques, so many styles, so many colors.
Where can we start?
How can we light the fire and make it happen?
In order to move forward, try to listen to the artist within your heart. Set aside some time to really consider your next step. Make a plan. Assess the moment and determine the future. Education can be the key to developing all your potential endeavors. Try something new and different. This moment in time belongs to you.
When beginning any voyage, it is necessary to plan where and how you want to go. There may be a variety of options to consider. Be aware that you may have a certain destination, but there could be many side trips that can enhance the experience. Be ready to take chances, accept challenges, and search new vistas. We can learn so much from each and every experience. Savor the moment and move on to the next challenge. Learn from your mistakes. Learning can be a varied experience. Keep in mind that we all have a predominant learning style. Accept each challenge as a time to experience a new approach to your endeavors. The acquiring of knowledge can be both academic and creative. A wise combination of both approaches may be the best choice. Artists many times will intensely involve themselves only with the working media, but learning the academics of art can have a powerful impact on your work. It is so important to learn the rules before you break them.
How can education take place? Information may be found in:
Art books and magazines are a wonderful source for information concerning history, trends, and techniques. If you are unable to attend or afford a local class, consider going to your local library to inspire and develop your art awareness.
Of course, The Decorative Painter is the very best, but do not be afraid to cross market into the fine arts and view other magazines such as American Artist.
The future of much of our educational endeavors may lie with offerings on the internet. Information and education is just a click away.
You can take classes, go to museums, download magazines, search artist web sites, and share experiences on different art forums. Just place your request in the Google search engine and search through the responses. The possibilities of the internet are endless. Go to the web site for the Society of Decorative Painters at www.decorativepainters.org. Experience the many membership educational perks such Teacher Listings, Chapters, and news from Staff and the Board of Directors.
Take a moment to subscribe to the SDP Blog to receive postings about events and techniques. The Education Committee is working to energize this offering by asking prominent teachers in the industry to contribute comments about hints and current techniques. This is your direct connection to add comments and requests. Let’s support SDP teachers and business owners.
Education belongs to YOU. Determine where you want to go, establish a plan, and go there. Light the fire, stoke the flames, and savor the warmth of its energy. Open all your senses to what is around you. The time frame is your decision. There will be stops and starts, but always try to start again.
Whether you are teaching at a Conference, teaching to a Chapter, or teaching in your own studio, there are some things that can be done ahead of time to make the time spent with students flow easier! No matter what, there will always be some “getting settled” activity that you cannot control, but some things you can do just by planning ahead!
Here are some ideas:
If you are working in Acrylics or Oils and have a lot of mixes, prevent losing class time by pre-mixing these values at home. You will be able to take the time to get the colors just right by mixing in the correct light and adjusting the values as necessary.
Acrylics: Purchase 2 oz. flip-top bottles and pour the mixes into the bottles; label for the appropriate project, element and value. The students will not have to keep asking if their mixed color is like the one you used! A time saver for sure!
Oils: Purchase aluminum paint tubes. After mixing all the values that you will be using, place in tubes (bottoms are open), crimp, label with project, element, color and value. Once again, this will ensure that no time is lost at the beginning of class and everyone will be using the same mixes that you used! Puncture the tube opening with a stylus when ready to use – keeps the end of the cap clean!
For Oils: Use the jewel cases that your CDs come in and use them for the student’s palette (or purchase new ones at the office supply store). Before class, spread out the opened cases and squirt the oil paint onto the surface in hue and value order (you can even have help with this!). Be sure to include some of the original hues that the mixes were made from. When finished with all the values, place plastic wrap over the paint pressing down around the puddle of paint to remove the air. Make sure the paint is totally covered! Close. Wrap excess plastic wrap around the case. Label with the project name. Hand one to each student – they can either transfer the paint to their palette or use it right from the case. When class is finished they will just re-cover the paint – there is no mess in transporting it back to their home! BTW: there is no need to remove the paper inserts! Everyone will be interested in your taste!! I make a disclaimer that these are my daughter’s CDs! When at home, wrap the CD case well with plastic wrap and store in the freezer to extend the life of the paint. Defrost 15 minutes before using.
Even though this list could go on and on, I hope what I have offered helps make your teaching experience more productive, and enjoyable!(Back to Top)