Sunday, August 29, 2010

A New School Year

During the last few days, I have welcomed almost a hundred freshman students to my classes at Southwest Texas Junior College. 

What do you teach, Kris?
Remedial reading. 

I see the look. It happens frequently when I tell folks what I teach. I saw it just last week. The look followed by comments about how wrong that is to teach reading in college and the assumption that it is a recent trend. As for the later, as a work-study student I worked in the remedial reading lab when I attended Harford Community College in 1972. So I don't think recent trend is an apt description. Is it wrong to teach reading to adults? First, I do not teach reading. All of my students are able to read, just not with the ability to tackle college textbooks. 

Some of my students are in my class because they are seeking a degree in their second language. They are accountants, psychologists or engineers in countries like Italy, Colombia or Mexico. 

Some of my students have not seen a classroom since 1990, 1983 or 1972. They are coming back to school to live a dream, improve their chances for a better job or in some cases to keep the job they have. I have had students in their 60's.  

And, yes, there are some students who did not do well in high school and have to brush up on their skills before continuing. They are not the majority. But they are students who have recognized the real world requires reading skills and they are ready to move on.

Would you be brave enough to sit in a remedial reading class with twenty-four other students? Could you admit to the world publicly that your reading skills need improvement?

So are my students' creative? I don't know. But I do know they have the potential. They are willing to do something out of the ordinary. They are willing to take that leap.

And I am honored to hold the net. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I create

As a creativity coach, especially now that I am certified, I believe it is crucial that I create. So here are a few examples of what I've been doing over the last few weeks. 

These are two pages of an old biology book that I am altering. I've been fascinated by altered books for some time now but this is the first time I have tried my hand at it. It is not easy. The fish's eye is from a photo of a famous film star.  

And this is a portion of a shawl that I just finished weaving. The yarn is recycled silk and was a bit of a challenge. I still have to fringe it but I am leaving for a conference in Missouri in the morning. 
So, what have you created lately?