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Anyone ever try teaching?

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Sam Lesante Jr.Anyone ever try teaching?
by on Oct 19, 2011 at 4:38:05 pm

I am 36 yrs old now. Have been in the business in some shape and form since I was a teenager. Been shooting and editing and everything in between since '94.

I am thinking about teaching some college kids now. Just one class for now.

Has anyone taught a simple mass comm class? If so, any pointers?



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Bill DavisRe: Anyone ever try teaching?
by on Oct 19, 2011 at 8:02:39 pm


Study teaching.

It's been a profession nearly as long as people have been learning.

There's a huge wealth of accumulated knowledge about what works and what doesn't in an instructional setting. It requires a lot of structured preparation. A basic understanding of how different kinds of people best learn. And then the same as any other skill, practice, practice, practice.

Good luck.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor

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Mark SuszkoRe: Anyone ever try teaching?
by on Oct 19, 2011 at 9:06:37 pm

Bill's advice is profound. If you turn it around, imagine a teacher asking you what it takes to get into doing good videos. You would tell him or her something along the lines of having to learn the fundamentals before jumping into more advanced work.

A lot of older video guys nearing retirement seize on this idea of teaching at some point as a fall-back. As professional communicators, that transition may be a little easier for them, in one sense.

But I can tell you from my own educational experiences that the amount of knowledge the instructor has on the topic is NOT the number one factor in making them a good teacher. My dad was an engineer, and used numbers like we use oxygen, but he couldn't teach me math or calculus worth a damn, and it became frustrating for both of us. He had no patience for me, and I could not keep up with him. Some players make great coaches, but not all do. tachers are unique in their ability to not only master the material, but master the very customized delvery of that material, live and in real time, a skill that takes years of dedicated effort and training to develop. They DO earn their pay.

Anyhow, not to discourage you, but these days the fundamentals we are best able to teach are not very well respected these days. Just saying that if you go ahead and try it, it requires considerable thought and planning, in ways that may be unfamiliar.

If I could teach video, I'd teach it to 8th graders, starting with giving them some vocabulary and grounding in media criticism and aesthetics, so they can actually speak about what they're trying to do. I would teach them basics of shot composition and lighting, sound recording, and a lot of time on editing, atarting with simple exercises in linear storytelling. Special Effects would be the least of what 'd teach, the dessert at the end of the meal. I'd be happy if the students could tell a decent 60 second story using only cuts and dissolves. Lord knows, not every adult can.

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Scott CarnegieRe: Anyone ever try teaching?
by on Oct 19, 2011 at 9:19:20 pm

I've done one-on-one training for editors for many years, and did sub full-time for 4 weeks at the college I graduated when one of the teachers was away to work on the Olympics.


I would love to do it for a career.

Patience is very important. Confidence is important. Knowledge of your subject is important.

Most of all though have a passion for the art and it will come through.

Depending on where you go, a community college required a certificate in adult education, you can get this while already teaching.

Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

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Todd TerryRe: Anyone ever try teaching?
by on Oct 19, 2011 at 9:31:41 pm

I've been asked before on occasion to come teach a filmmaking class at a college here, but I've always declined... partly because I'm not sure if they would allow my daily Hawaiian-shirt-shorts-and-baseball-cap dress code, but mostly because I can't stand trying to teach anyone anything.

It's not that I don't want to... it's just that I don't have the patience for it. I will try, but quickly move into the "Just move over and let me do it" phase. I can't help it.

But... if someone working in our profession is good at it, I'd certainly encourage them to do it. If nothing else, it would get some good fresh working blood into the education system. I went to a university that has one of the larger Schools of Communication, and I have a degree in film (totally useless, of course)... but when I was in school there was not a single professor, instructor, or teacher that had set foot in a film studio, on a location set, or even in a television station in probably 40 years. And that is not an exaggeration. I swear there were probably one or two that would go home at night and fiddle with the knobs on their big tubed console radio and wonder why Arthur Godfrey wasn't on that night. It was sad.

Fresh blood would always be welcome.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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Scott CarnegieRe: Anyone ever try teaching?
by on Oct 20, 2011 at 4:19:40 pm

All of the instructors at my college had spent years working in the business. That is pretty much the community college model in Canada.

FYI, in Canada what Americans call trade school or trade colleges we just call College or Community College, usually 2 year courses. Univeristy is the 4 year or more courses, B.A. and all of that stuff.

Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

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Sam Lesante Jr.Re: Anyone ever try teaching?
by on Oct 20, 2011 at 7:09:43 pm

thanks for all the insight. Definitely helps :)


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Grant WilberRe: Anyone ever try teaching?
by on Oct 21, 2011 at 3:53:48 pm

What everyone said about the quality of being a teacher is dead on. But just having background experience in the field is huge. When I was in college I had teachers with a 'background' in film production (20 years before) and some of them just couldn't teach effectively because they brought no real work experience in. Or all the handouts they gave us as examples of forms where typewritten with whiteout marks and would ask for beeper numbers.

I always loved when teachers would talk about jobs or specific experiences they had. Makes it feel real. I think the fact that you have this is a big factor. You could bring in old jobs (client emails, production stills, edits, problems, etc) and I think students would really benefit from this. Even just talking about copywrites' and real examples of how you got certain music or the ropes you went through to clear a song for a project.

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Richard HerdRe: Anyone ever try teaching?
by on Oct 27, 2011 at 6:44:54 pm

Yeah. I'm a teacher. I teach high school Media Arts, currently. And before that I taught composition at a University.

Pedagogy is the fancy word for teaching philosophy.

In working with the administrator, it's wise to ask about the syllabus and see if you can have the one from the previous teacher.

You should also clearly define your learning outcomes for each day of instruction. I write it on the board. Try to keep it to one clearly defined lesson. For example, importing footage. And that's it for the day.

Calibrating the lesson and learning outcomes for the particular class is more of an art. In that way, you want it to be challenging, and different groups of kids have different levels of competence and practice. Assessment is tough, especially in an art class, so I assess the process, and try to avoid assessing the aesthetics.

The next problem is critique, which is appropriate for art school. The goal is to create technical vocabulary in the students and that builds aesthetics.

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