Wednesday, September 7, 2011

On Passion and Process

“If you want to be a remarkable teacher, get a hobby."  So says Marco Antonio Torres, who, I have discovered, has a knack for saying just what I need to hear. 

Torres is in town for the HAIS conference this week, which I will not be attending (sadly), but I did have the pleasure of hearing him speak yesterday evening.  The moment he started to connect teachers and hobbyists, I could sense a blog post in the making!  

Torres asked so many important questions, and there was one particular question he posed repeatedly:  "How do you develop ideas?"  

Really think about that.  In scrapbooking, we may share the product, but it is the process of generating and developing ideas that is truly fascinating and that seems to fuel the kinds of conversations we have with each other in public forums.  Questions relating to process, requests for tutorials, inspiring links, and descriptions of our techniques often appear on message boards and in our posts on our blogs, and accompany our pages in galleries.   If we only ever shared the product, the "community" aspect of scrapbooking would be impacted.  If we did not feel the push to be innovative, we might never create, or dare to use the words "fun" or "play" to describe what we do.  

Torres mentioned that hobbyists will defend their passions.   Many teachers, on the other hand, often concede too easily when criticism comes their way.  Sure, teachers will defend teaching itself, but when it comes to defending their practice, why they do the things they do or don't do, many tend to point to walls in front of them.  

This is precisely why Torres declares to groups of teachers, "If you want to be a remarkable teacher, get a hobby."   Why?  "Hobbyists don't see walls," he claims.  "They see obstacles."   

I can definitely see that playing out in my own creative process as a scrapbooker.  The word "can't" doesn't really occur to me as I create.  If I have an idea, I push and pull it until it translates somehow to the page.  I make it work.  

Is this true of me as a teacher?  I would hope so, but I know that I still have far to go.  

According to Torres, "Hobbyists love to learn," they "have evidence of how they learn," and what's more, "they love to share." Sound familiar, my scrappy friends?   

Is this true of scrapbookers?  Pretty much!    

Is this true of teachers? Now that is the question.  

So this is it:  I have been challenged to become more of a learner with and less of a teacher to my students.  It's what I've been doing all along as a scrapbooker, never claiming to be an expert, perfectly content (and even happy) to be a learner among other learners.  

Who knew that my scrapper self could have something to teach my teacher self?  

I'll leave you with a few shares from the lovely new JBS September kits.  

Idea:  unifying the multiple photos not just by bringing them close together, but also by framing them through overlapping white lines. 

Idea:  journaling inspired by the juxtaposition of black and white photos and brightly colored papers. 

Idea: bringing the outdoors to the page by splattering grass and dirt (figuratively speaking) on cardstock and going green.

It's funny -- since hearing Torres speak last night, I can't help but see these with fresh eyes, asking myself, "How do you develop ideas?"  and realizing that it is learning and innovation that keep bringing me back around to this incredible and worthwhile hobby.


  1. Jill! I could read your posts all day long!

  2. Great thought today, Jill! Thanks for sharing! I have to agree that a hobby is critical to having success in a lot of life areas.

  3. such an insightful post. all three of those layouts are my faves in the jbs dt gallery.

  4. Fantastic insight! Thanks for sharing your thought and ideas. Love your pages as always.

  5. Interesting. I've never really thought about how our hobbies carry over into our lives as teachers.

    I do talk with teachers often, though, about how they learn. What conditions are helpful? What motivates them? We talk about how to re-create those conditions in the classroom.