Teachers are cultivators of learning. We are not meant to dictate, but rather we are meant to facilitate. As an educator I strive to prepare my students with the knowledge they will need to solve problems and think creatively. I believe that students should have a balance of discipline and freedom in the classroom. Discipline to help create order and so students understand what is expected from them and freedom to make the work more exciting and personal to each of them.
As a metalsmith I have the ability to teach traditional metalsmithing techniques and conceptual ideas. These technical aspects are the roots of the course but the course truly blooms when the students are able to introduce their personal ideas.
Students should be able to take what technical aspects have been taught and expand and explore how to make things work best for their projects or introduce another medium into the work. I am a firm believer that non-traditional metalsmithing materials can explain concepts deeper and that jewelry is not simply an object to adorn the body. Jewelry is a way to express oneself whether it is socially, spiritually, culturally, or otherwise. Jewelry has the ability to communicate with a viewer in a very personal manner; because jewelry is typically displayed on the body it automatically connects the wearer to the object, which in turn tells a story.
I want my students to understand that jewelry making is not just for the sake of adornment. I discuss with students why we create objects and how to articulate a story through the medium. I have open discussions with students about technical problems and the concepts they wish to discuss through their work. I want students to feel comfortable in a classroom setting that is conducive to learning, experimentation, and respect.