A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure, and the honor, of speaking to photography students at the robust and thriving photography program at Black Hills State University in South Dakota. The enthusiasm of the students, as well as the collection of their photographs displayed in the hallways, was inspiring. I was touched at the kind words and the honest questions.
Teaching college students should be an honor, not a chore. It is best accomplished with a relationship built upon mutual respect with an eye towards the future. Sure, it can be frustrating when certain students refuse to listen, put forth little creative effort, or simply don’t do their assignments. And giving a failing grade, even one well deserved, just plain sucks. But, the rewards. Oh the rewards. If I can play even a small part in a students growth and development and inspiration as an artist (or whatever they want to be), then I am honored beyond words. So, a heartfelt thank you to all my past students, current mentorettes, and those I may have the privilege to work with in the future.
The faculty at BHSU apparently feel the same, and I was impressed and humbled at how they worked with, and interacted with, their students. Friendship, respect, inspiration…it was all there. The students of Jerry, Steve, and Skott are, indeed, very fortunate.