Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Iron Giant or Wordy McWordsalot

So...this post is a little bit on the long-overdue side. I don't know if long and overdue are supposoed to get a hyphen or not, but we're going with it...partly because I'm a rebel when it comes to grammatical rules, but mostly because I'm a rebel when it comes to grammatical rules because I can't remember grammatical rules.

It's overdue because I'm something of a procrastinator and by procrastinator I mean lazy bastard. It's also overdue because I didn't really know how to approach blogging about it for fear of sounding like I'm bragging. Now, we all know bragging is something I'm not opposed to, but in this case I really don't want to come across that way.

Here's the deal. Two of my (now former) illustration students who shall remain nameless have left my tutelage. They won't be taking any more classes with me and they decided to do something special for me...something really special. They got me the sweet sweet Iron Giant toy you saw above all my words. That bad boy was in the original box for the last 10 years so I did the only logical thing...I opened it and played with it.

It all started when they wanted to meet shortly after the semester's end under the pretense of me looking at some of their work and discussing projects they might want to tackle over the summer. I should have known when I showed up and the previously mentioned artwork to be reviewed was nowhere in sight. Ultimately, the second student arrived and they proceeded to say wonderful things about me as a teacher and how much they appreciated the ways I helped them this past semester. It means a lot to me that they feel this way because there are times I really wonder whether or not I'm helping students. I have no formal training as a teacher and I can only hope that the knowledge and experience I pass on will help propel them further into their careers as students and artists. I know students like me because I'm funny, but I hope they like me because I challenge them and they learn from me. There are days I feel like I'm just a badass and I'm on top of my teaching game and then there are days I feel like a total hack and a fraud. It's esepecially scary because you find yourself caring about each and every student. They become peers and friends and you want to see them succeed. Not to mention I find msyelf learning from them as well and I think that's just fantastic. As I write this I feel myself wishing I'd waited another week to try and plan out something that flows a little more smoothly, uses fewer words and ultimately just sounds a little more eloquent, but one week will turn into two and this big giant thank you will remain unsaid for far too long.

While I didn't cry in front of those guys..I did well up a little. I'm an emotional guy. What can I say? They both worked overtime at their jobs so they could afford this thing...this thing that you can't just get anywhere anymore...because they don't make them anymore. I feel touched and completely unworthy, but not so much that I'll give it back. It's totally mine now. What's so awesome is that I never knew these toys even existed. I LOVE the Iron Giant.

So...I didn't cry in front of them at R.P. Tracks over my barbeque tofu sandwich...but I did cry in my goggles on my way home...on my motorcycle. Have you ever ridden a motorcycle wearing watery goggles? I don't recommend it.

At any rate...for what it's worth, you two, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You made my day. And to all my students who work so hard and bring so much enthusiasm to class...thank you as well. There's a bumper crop of really hard-working and talented students in the illustration/comics program at MCA right now and I'm fortunate to be a part of it. May the force be with you all.


silent rip said...

I'm really glad to hear you've got a lot of good students. It really inspires me to see you, dare I say, living your dream. I mean, you probably didn't dream you would drive away crying in your goggles on the motorcycle, but the motorcycle I bet was in it; and getting to teach something you love.

Anyways, it reminds me that I need to do something about my dreams; the ones I have kicked to the curb for the time being. Sorry, my dreams.

Also the Iron Giant is super bad ass. And I really don't use that term often. Huzzah!

Lighthouse Pilot said...

Thanks, dude. I am kinda living the dream a little. I have a sneaky feeling your dreams will be right where you left them and glad to see you when you get back.

And it should be noticed that the students bring the talent and drive to the table. I just help them tap into it, refine it and/or guide them along.

Matt Danger Ryan said...

Sometimes I feel like crying too. I do my best to hold it all in until I get home and listen to Neil Diamond sing "Sweet Caroline" and let myself go. Upon inspection of the images of said gift, I feel that you would have been completely justified if you had made a weeping, sobbing mess of yourself. Think of his little plastic form as an oscar in recognition of utter awesomeness as a teacher and a friend. And remember: Just like Yoda, you inspire hope in all those that follow you... even though he only had five minutes in Return of the Jedi before he died...

Kayla Cline said...

I am seriously jealous of this sweet, sweet Iron Giant toy. I haven't watched that movie in years but I remember loving the heck out of it. You are an awesome teacher 100% of the time, really. Personally, I feel motivated and encouraged by you to do work, and it's easy to talk to you about the projects we are working on in and outside of class.

But one day I will get an action figure to trump your figures, and you will be oh so jealous!

Lauren Rae Holtermann said...

Duuuuude, that is one awesome Iron Giant toy. I too am a fan. Lucky duck!