|Ms. Sarah Hunter||
Loved it! This book definitely got my wheels turning. There really is so much good stuff here, I'm not sure where to start. As an artist, I could have taken away a million things from Austin Kleon. As a teacher, I am taking away a bunch of lessons, some that overlap with what I could use as an artist, and some that are different and unique. I'm going to reflect on this book as a teacher, since that is why I'm here after all!
I love the message to "be an amateur." This is a powerful message for all of us, but especially for our students. In talking about the gap between mediocre and good, Austin cites Clay Shirky who says that "the real gap is between doing nothing and doing something.' Amateurs know that contributing something is better than contributing nothing." This is no doubt an important lesson for my students. You can't get good until you start somewhere, and contributing something to your learning is always better than contributing nothing. Along with being an amateur, I'm a big fan of the idea of taking people behind the scenes. With my background in theater, I think it's very powerful for people to get a look backstage to see just how much goes into every moment onstage. The same goes for the classroom. I think that giving students the opportunity to see the value in their day-to-day work is a great motivator. The process is equally, if not more, valuable than the final product, and it's important that my students understand that.
I'd like to inspire my students to find powerful, positive influences, and identify the ways in which these influences inspire them. So I appreciated Austin's statement that "influences are all worth sharing because they clue people in to who you are and what you do--sometimes even more than your own work." I'll be looking for ways to integrate opportunities to share our influences in my classroom wherever possible.
I think there are two statements made in this book that are most important for my students to hear and understand every single day:
"When you find things you genuinely enjoy, don't let anyone else make you feel bad about it. Don't feel guilty about the pleasure you take in the things you enjoy. Celebrate them"
"Make stuff you love and talk about stuff you love and you'll attract people who love that kind of stuff. It's that simple."
As a teacher, can I really ask for anything more than for my students to feel confident, inspired, and driven by their uniqueness? These takeaways were so valuable to me, and I look forward to putting them to good use in my classroom this fall!
Here's my blackout poem I created from page 119: