Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I've become an art teacher.

Art school confidential.
I fancy myself an artist, (among other things...), and anyway, we're all supposed to be artists, architects.
But it's apparently, not the case here. The new harmonized curriculum for BS Architecture in Ethiopia has two (additional) art courses Visual and History of Arts I & II that involves an art history survey, as well as the practical art classes. Fifty-fifty.

What they did in the past 2 semesters was hire a visual artist, because apparently, to them, only an "artist" can teach this class. They hire this lecturer for a certain period of time only (a blocked time of about 2 weeks), shrinking the 5-month art lessons into a crash course. (They did the same with other courses, since the teaching staff was so small, most, barely, qualified.)

But since hiring a good number of new lecturers (from THE top Architecture school in the country) this academic year, the new department is making a firm decision to not a hire block-timers. I supported this, because we just can't expect quality teaching with just 2 weeks. (Basically just 4 or so sessions. Nope.) But then, the former department head again referred to the above reason. And I was like, uhmmm, aren't we all supposed to know these and even be good at this stuff? Visual art? This is basic, no? Silence. So I offered, as a last resort I could, if no one else can do it.

But then came the release of our teaching loads (I'm not supposed to even teach, by the way, I mean I don't have to, but since this was the immediate need when I arrived, so there... But I've asked to be given the minimum courses this semester, so I could work on my other assignments.), someone else was assigned to it. Great, I sighed in relief.

But then two-three weeks after the start of classes, the department head called me up and said, Hey, you better handle this class after all. The assigned teacher isn't confident enough.

So being the troubleshooter that I have committed myself to doing in my volunteer placement here in Dire Dawa University, I said, yes, sure.

So here, I am. Teaching art classes, summoning John Malkovich's art teacher character in Art School Confidential. I should start composing my triangle paintings.

This is just the second session.
Light and shadow exercise.

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