I see my most important role as a teacher is to nourish students’ passion and motivate them to reach their goals. The interdisciplinary nature of animation attracts students from various disciplines with a wide range of skills, interests, and expertise. Some students may feel confident wrestling with the artistic obstacles while others with science and engineering backgrounds are more comfortable encountering technical challenges. My goal is to help students know their strengths, not feel intimidated by their peers’ skills and abilities, and believe they can achieve any level of expertise if they keep trying.
To be persistent and confident are qualities I try to nurture in students. It is essential to teach them not to give up each time they fail or progress slowly. Drawing their attention to the role of failed attempts in the learning process, I inform the students that their effort and improvements are considered when they are being evaluated. To boost their self-confidence, I try to draw their attention to their strengths and assign them projects within their expertise range as they first encounter the subject. Then gradually, push them outside their comfort zone of knowledge through more challenging assignments.
Most students who take animation courses are already interested in the subject matter. However, keeping them motivated as they face the challenges of producing quality works is not easy. However, most students tend to work passionately on challenging assignments if they find them meaningful. To provide such experience to students, I try to design creative assignments that require setting personal goals and empower them for their possible future encounters with the subject.
Some of the students in my class may take the course as a requirement for their program; for some others, it might be their first exposure to art. They may find their passion in the subject and follow it or find out they are not right for continuing this path. In any case, I attempt to create a welcoming, inclusive learning experience for them all.