Learning How to Teach

One of the most interesting aspects of being a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) is that you get to learn in order to teach. The journey of exploring Zentangle techniques is a wonder in itself… but as a CZT, I CAN translate my exploration into classes for others. Sometimes it works and sometimes it really does not.

One of the first group classes I taught, I had far too many tangles to teach in the time allotted, I was not at a strong level with the technology I was using, and I found myself impacted by the facial expressions of my students. It was not ideal, but the learning experience of it was exactly what I needed. From this experience, I learned that I do better with a whiteboard demonstration, adventurous students, and a flow-style class. I also learned that I need to set my students up for success by being confident, clear, and by sharing my heart and mind intentions. That brings me to the most recent class experience I wanted to share about – Maptangling with Fragments.

Class prep and demonstration pieces

You are allowed to say “Thank You”

I started by sharing my hopes for the time together, my appreciation for each student, and my rule. Golden Rule of a Tangled Artist Class: “You are allowed to say thank you. You are not allowed to put down your work.” I remind students that we often hear a compliment and our gut reaction is “But I could have… ” or “I should have this…” or “I wish it was…” Like in the scene from Wayne’s World shown below. Terry tells people he loves them all through the movie… Garth knows best – “Just say, ‘thank you'”.

210 WAYNE`S WORLD by Sullivan ideas | wayne, wayne's world, world

Terry – “I love you man.”
Russel (Driver) – “I love you.”
Terry – “No you don’t man. I LOVE you man!”
Garth – “Just say ‘thank you.'”
Terry – “I love you man”
Russel (Driver) – “Thank you.”

Terry hugs Russel

For the record, I am the Terry in the above scene. During the pandemic, I have told more people that I love them than I have in my entire life! What I add to my golden rule is that the students can trust that I am genuine and honest with what I say. I will not compliment someone’s tangling or drawing in a fake way. In order to do this though, I need to treat myself the same way (the well-known golden rule).

From the rule and intentions I move into what they can expect from our time together in terms of instruction, technology, and learning outcome. This sounds dry but I have seen rest come over the student’s faces as I share what journey they are on with me. It also gives me a nudge to follow my schedule.

When you “just be” as an artist, beauty is found….

In this class I recently did, each student asked for what they needed throughout the time, I did multiple demonstrations on the whiteboard so they could choose their own colours and approach. As you can see below, the results were beautiful!

I had no idea while I was teaching what splash each student started with or what colours they were going to choose. For supplies I only encouraged that the pen choice be a darker version of the splash laid down.

The top image shows a student playing with three partnering colours on the wheel: yellow, green, blue

The bottom image shows a student letting the splash dictate what pen they chose to ensure that the original background colour choice was not lost.

Both show how unique each of us are and how beauty is created when we take a leap and “just be” as artists.

Consider taking a look at my class offerings and sign up here! Your leap towards seeing what beauty appears will be worth it!