6.45 am. Arose. Following breakfast … a-busying. I’d a great deal to compress into the day: commitments to honour, teaching to do, errands to run, emails to send, belongings to gather together, plans to put in motion, and preparations to be made. 8.35 am. Off to School:
A day of tutorial and advisory sessions, beginning with a pair of MA fine art tutorials. After which, I quick-stepped to town to retrieve a prescription and purchase my rail ticket, in readiness for tomorrow’s adventure:
Immediately, on return, I caught up on a postponed second year tutorial and made preparations for the final Vocational Practice class, where we discussed the protocols for the students’ end of module assessment.
Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements and reflections:
- Those who put most into a tutorial get most out of it. (That goes for teachers as well as tutees.)
- The mind. The mind thinks. The heart. The heart feels. The soul. The soul speaks.
- Aim to exceed the best that others expect of you.
- We are none of us what we appear to be. Either for better or for worse.
- Wean yourself off a dependence on approval and reassurance.
- There’s a world of difference between self-confidence and self-delusion.
Midday. Home. Packing furiously. An afternoon of re-routed third year fine art tutorials. This is their penultimate session with me. The final discussion will take place, the week after next, in the context of their exhibition. I feel the melancholy of losing them grow, even now. I’ve heard several pieces of good news today; it has gladdened the heart. Students, who’re on their way in life.
After dinner, I joined one of our third year ISP students (Liz ‘the paper girl’, as she’s affectionately known) at the School to record the sound of her paper sculpting activity. We adopted a dual-recording mode: one digital recorder was placed at a distance from the event, to capture the ambience of the sounds in the studio; the other device was handheld, so that I could manoeuvre close to the source. I used this second audio recorder like a steadicam, orbiting around her; closing in on the details, such as the ripping and kneading of the paper; dropping to the floor to capture the rasp of her feet pushing against the paper, making a sound that recalled the incoming tide; and drawing near to her fingers to capture her gentle tares that, likewise, summoned the sea’s withdrawal along the shale. At times, I felt we were participating in a strange and unchoreographed pas de deux. Liz’s focus was fixed throughout. Impressive. The performance was surprisingly moving to observe and participate in.
Back at home, I continued to pack in readiness for tomorrow’s jaunt.