I don’t always know what kind of teacher I am. Today was a day that told me.
This term, I have the immense privilege of teaching with the love of my life once a day. It’s an incredible experience, and one that I’m constantly and immeasurably grateful for. I also get the benefit of being able to call in talented and successful people I know to enrich classes and bring the subject to life. This term, my students got to meet an old school friend of mine, the talented filmmaker and TVO documentarian Matthew Campea, and Tuesday was a day for them to spend time with a much newer friend, Justin Van Leeuwen of JVL Photography.
Not only is Justin a thoroughly wonderful guy, easygoing and effortlessly charming, but he’s a consummate professional who did spectacular wedding photography for our friends Claire and Jared (who, if you recall, I did some drawings for back in the day because what I lack in cameras I make up for in compulsive Moleskine abuse). He dropped some serious knowledge on our students in a way that perfectly set up not only some of the things we want to do in this short film unit, but primed them for next week’s photography module. Not only that, but the students really liked him, and he made everything really approachable for them. I’ll definitely be using examples of his material in our lessons as examples of how to take good photos, because a) the students love his work and really who wouldn’t and b) using those examples will immediately link them back to fond memories of the workshop.
I can’t help but also observe that, over and above enjoying spending time with the guy and loving his work, Justin is a totally committed dad. Like, really very much so. As someone who’s still in the early stages of figuring out step-dad-hood I look up to that a lot.
Following the photography workshop, I couldn’t help but spend the bus ride home looking for opportunities to take a couple of nice shots, even with my phone.
Needs some touch-up work, but not a bad view for a quick snap from the bus station.
Capture those moments, folks. And, as always, paddle your own canoe.
EDIT: Hey, I forgot to address the thing I said at the beginning, about the kind of teacher I am. I’m a teacher who LOVES watching his students learn, even if it’s not from me, but I get really twitchy if I’m in my own classroom and I’m not the one doing the teaching. It’s strange. I don’t usually get possessive or territorial. But those kids, they’re MY kids, and I want to be steering their ship, so to speak. Still, it’s nice to have people I trust come in and take the wheel now and then.