Life as an Extreme Sport

the gifts of teaching

I am asked one of two questions quite frequently. Those who come over ask about the art on my walls. Those who create the art, ask if I really hang it up. So, here are some examples of the art in my house – these are all student projects, bits and pieces that I fell in love with, and my students were kind enough to give to me at the end of our classes together.

So, the short answers are: the art in my house primarily consists of things my students have done as part of their academic work, and yes, I do actually display the art, with significant pride.

This door and wall show art from several different students and classes. The pieces on the left are from a class called Eye and Mind, centering on Merleau-Ponty, and bringing freshmen humanities students into a lab to see that science doesn’t have to be a scary Other. This particular student fixed and stained osteoblasts multiple colours, figured out how to photograph them via the microscope, then created a series of images from world religions in “stained glass” – transparency paper and the photoshopped images.

The pictures on the right are from a technology/communication course, and deal with how we see and how we read the body.

The petri dish in the upper left corner is also from the Eye and Mind course. My student figured out how to dye and fix his osteoblasts that shade of green, and then, using a dental implement, traced, in multiple petri dishes, the life cycle of several pacific northwest trees. He also wrote a corresponding paper on emergence, and tied the two together. You can see a closeup of the petri dish here; it was my favourite of the etchings.

The flower and the dry erase marker were gifts my mentor gave to me at the conclusion of our first class teaching together. A single white rose, and a dry erase marker in purple. The purple was a very sentimental touch; following the advice of a friend’s mother, I had taken to grading my papers in purple (so that the papers didn’t appear to drip blood). My teaching cohort graded in brown ink, and was given a brown dry erase marker. I was extremely moved by the level of attention and detail my mentor showed in selecting such a thoughtful gift… and I have it, and the rose, on the wall as memorial to everything that class was for me; it, more than anything, is why I now am here, where I am – thanks to that mentor, and those amazing students.