My mistakes in teaching

‘I make way too many mistakes when teaching.’ I have said this to my students a few times, and to myself countless times. When saying it to a student, I am myself and I have a smile on my face. When talking to myself, I have a disapproving frown.

I teach undergraduate students of Architecture, and today, I realized a mistake I made teaching the first year studio. They make really good drawings. They are hardworking and talented. These were probably the supporting arguments in my head when I was making their design brief. I must have been so confident in their abilities that I did not realize that I had to teach zoning from scratch. Today, as I was zoning another student’s home kitchen on the board, the class was ogling as if watching a movie. Why did I not think of this before and why did I ask them to draw plans and sectional elevations before asking for simple zoning with bubble diagrams? Why the rush?

As I kept a stern voice with myself throughout this evening, I thought of making it a point to not repeat it. The next thought was – why not document them, so I can do a better job next time? Hence, I have a new blog post today. I have always wondered what to write about. I can definitely write original pieces about my mistakes in teaching. My dear student, if you happen to read this, I confess my mistake. With your blessing, I forgive and permit myself to keep going. I am still learning.

Dear Eliza, you had said this to me before. Today, I realize that being able to teach is a privilege. Thank you for giving me my first opportunity to teach.

P.S.: Disapproving frowns tend to influence more of my life than I would like to let them. This post was one such instance. I looked at the brief later and realized that I wanted them to try zoning by themselves first, without spoon-feeding what it is. That is why the brief had a textual description of what zoning is and examples to illustrate the differences between vertical and horizontal zoning. I saw a note scribbled on the margin of my copy of the brief – explain zoning using an example of reorganizing the studio space for a jury (keeping in mind functions and circulation). In class, I forgot about this and used a student’s home kitchen to explain zoning, which was way easier and more relevant to the problem they were trying to address through design thinking.


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