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13 January 2008



First, I loved your camellia post and will have to re-visit Eudora Welty. As to your big picture I think it interesting that someone who makes her life studying the microscopic chose to paint larger that life! You see the world from many different angles!

John B.

"I never teach my students--I only provide the conditions in which they learn." Einstein said that, so you know it must be right. When some of my colleagues and I heard that back in August, we (jokingly) took that to mean that we could just sort of, you know, stretch out on the ol' chaise and watch once we've seen to the Conditions' being Provided. But he's right: the best learning is when students have the space--and freedom--to teach themselves something. The teacher provides knowledge and advice as needed but should prescribe and proscribe as little as possible.

I'm certain that those of us who choose teaching as a profession have had a Mr. Johnson or two in our educational lives; otherwise, where would we have gotten the idea that teaching would be a good thing to do with our lives?

And: did you place that seed order after all?


Hi Layanee, do go and enjoy some Eudora Welty. She was a pretty serious gardener, or so it seems.

John B.: I've heard that Einstein quote before - yes, it does apply here, doesn't it? Personally, I think teaching - any kind of good teaching - is an incredible amount of hard work. I always feel inadequate when I teach a class - like I'm cheating someone (aka the students who signed up for the class). I think I'm good at providing an environment for learning - and so it's probably best that I only teach graduate students. Undergraduate teaching - wow, it's much more than providing a good environment - alot more.

Annie in Austin

Hi Pam,

I like your painting and think you were very lucky to be in an art class where both you and the teacher had enough freedom to allow the creation of your painting. I'll bet the experience influenced both of you.

How can such serendipitous moments occur in an educational atmosphere where the focus is on teaching to the test? It must be very frustrating to be an art teacher today.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose


Annie: I agree. I have always remembered that art teacher, as I have several other teachers in my life, and most of them I remember because of the freedom they gave me to think or do for myself. I guess that maybe works for some, but not for others, I don't know - but I hope (and imagine) that those teachers are still out there. I'm pretty sure that they are.


I was searching for info about Waldo Johnson and found your blog. I also had him for an art teacher--he was my hero! Did you graduate from AHS?


Hi Sharon - yes, I did. I grew up in Charlottesville (was just there this weekend). I adored Waldo Johnson - and heard that he passed away a number of years ago. I regretted not having written to him to tell him how important he was to me during those years. I graduated in 1977. You?

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