From Vacationland: on Teaching

I’m realizing that my blog makes it sound like I am on vacation 100% of the time, which is actually completely accurate. This time it’s Maine to visit a friend of mine from college. I had a brief stopover in New York trying out a new thing I’m inventing called “wedding tourism”, where I learned that Vietnamese sandwiches are the best.

I want to talk a little bit about teaching, because on Thursday I’ve been given the opportunity to talk to some high school kids about architecture. I have sat in on panels before and offered criticism at various levels, but this is the first time I’ll actually be instructing. I’m a little nervous, but also really excited. I don’t know what it is about teaching that I like so much. Truth be told, I had a very frustrating end to my college career. By graduation I swore it would be a long time before I did anything “academic” again, but less than a year later a coworker of mine needed a last-minute replacement juror to critique the work of his college students, and I did it as a favor. It turns out that I absolutely love it. Part of it is being on the flip-side of the student-teacher relationship, and the new perspective that offers. Another part is simply the break from intense detail-oriented problem solving that is part of the professional day to day; being able to look at big picture conceptual problems can be refreshing. And, especially at the high-school level, I like that it gives me an opportunity to explain architecture to normal people. An emerging thread in my life is that I think regular people either don’t know or misunderstand the profession of architecture. Hopefully I can inspire the few who want to become architects, and the rest can come away with a clearer picture of what architects really do. I’ll be able to let you know next week.

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