4.02.2011

I've had two...

I have been in college for almost 7 years now (scary thought, eh?). Out of those 7 years I have had one teacher that has truly impacted me. It wasn't a person I encountered while I was at the University of Nevada, Reno for semester upon semester, but rather a teacher, J,  whom I only had for two quarters while at FIDM. No one else had been able to communicate with me, and flourish me with so much information other than Brad from Crested Butte Academy.

Brad and J are very alike. They both can scare the living bajesus out of you -- but you know they mean well. Brad and I always butted heads from day one of his English classes at the Academy -- boy did I think he was the worst teacher and classroom leader one could get stuck with. As I grew up a bit I really started to respect Brad and how difficult he made my life. He knew that I was capable of doing things that I would never try -- thus pushing me to the point where I would go home and cry my eyes out for hours to my mom saying "I can't do this. This project is so stupid. He is a horrible teacher!" now, as I look back close to 6/7 years later I am so thankful that I had him as a teacher -- even though he did make me memorize strange old passages of I believe Beowulf in Anglo-Saxon (yah, I never used that again...). Brad was always very mysterious, as young high school kids we always sat around and tried to figure out what his past was -- we never did. He drove an original tan suburban that was literally the first model every made. He was always accompanied by his dog Falco at the later part of my education. Once I saw a picture of him with a mullet, and he loved sharing his story with us about getting punched by Bob Barker. He helped me get into college -- and I feel as though I was able to surprise him last year when I let him know that I was actually graduating from the adventure I had started 5 years before. When I graduated from CBA, he informed me that he would also be moving to Reno to teach English. Oh great. I prepared myself to walk into my first day of English class at UNR and see Brad sitting there -- it haunted me. Well, that wasn't the case, I walked into my first college course to find a nerdy looking young man that taught me absolutely nothing but was highly impressed at my ability to write and suggested that I skip over a few of the required English classes at the Uni -- at the point I slowly started to realize how fantastic of a teacher Brad was.

J has a similar story. I was at my first quarter at FIDM, it was my second day on campus I had a course called "Survey of Visual Communications", I had absolutely no clue what the class entailed. I walked into a giant studio room with tables and other odd end projects decorating the walls. A petite blonde woman sat at the end of the room right in front of the whiteboard. Exactly on the hour she started class -- from the first words out of her mouth I could tell that this was not joke. Then I automatically thought, oh great -- how long is a quarter? She sure was fierce. I was so scared it wasn't even funny. I had no friends in the class so there was no one to turn to and say "is this real?". After she handed out an entire ream of paper to each student with projects, requirements and other odds and ends we left class. I seriously had no idea what I had gotten myself into. As the quarter moved on I slowly started to realize how valuable all of her knowledge was. I wrote a paper for her, she gave me a bad grade. I was livid -- I don't get bad grades on papers, I tried to coerce her to change the grade. That didn't happen, she stood her ground, just as I was trying to stand mine. Throughout the quarter she would sternly talk to us about taking class seriously, and using all the resources that we had at our finger tips. Our final project was to create a bag (yes, the bag that you have seen pictures of on here before). I wanted mine to be different, unique, not the normal square, I wanted it to move, and incorporate the other required elements of the project. My goal was to make an accordion like side, covered in gold lemay fabric. The first try didn't work, the second try didn't work. I has spent close to $100 on fabric and supplies. On one of our last class labs, I watch J separate the board that I worked so hard on scoring, and the gold lemay that cost me $10 a yard. I lost it. She was trying to show me how to fix the problem I was having, I didn't care at the point. All I could see was my project coming apart. I stormed out of the classroom crying. After class, J and I spoke. She delivered some words of wisdom to me, saying all though I want my project to be perfect, sometimes you have to take shortcuts to meet deadlines -- I didn't want to take a shortcut. I know I didn't realize it then, but, now I do; J had a way of communicating to me. After the trials and tribulations of "the bag" I walked away with an A in class, but even more I walked away knowing that I had J again the following semester, and I was excited to learn even more from here. I hard heard stories about how hard her Drafting classes was, her past students used to come into our survey lab room first quarter and scare us about how difficult drafting is. I wanted a difficult and challenging teacher, I wanted to learn and soak up as much knowledge as possible. Day one, wasn't bad, same with day two. Then the first project came back and I had a bad grade, the second project came back and it was another crappy grade. I started to worry. I understood exactly what the projects were asking, but I was just making stupid little mistakes -- I would pay an immense amount of attention in class and take note after note after note. I tried to participate like crazy, and take advantage of extra credit. Although my project grades were not stellar, I proved I knew what I was doing when it came to the midterm (or at least I thought I did). Then finally, after the stress of final projects hit me like a bullet the melt down came. J then reminded me again that I knew that I was doing, I was just trying to do things to quickly. After the reminder I got my thoughts together and put my all into my final projects. It paid off. This was J's last quarter at FIDM, when I heard the news I was pretty bummed -- although I think it is amazing that she is trying to further her education in my favorite state ever.....Colorado. J was one of the most inspiring and driven teachers I have ever had. I am so fortunate to have randomly signed up for survey with her. I wish that I was able to finish off my last two quarters with weekly classes with J; she has shared so much knowledge with me I still am amazed.

So Brad and J, thank you. I know I have not been the easiest student to deal with. You both have taught me so much, and made me realize that I can learn and do anything!

Cheers, to the best teachers I have ever had!

Sending Love from So Cal!

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