I started reading a new essay about Postmodernism for my graduate class tonight around 11PM. I realized I was getting a bit fatigued, finishing the chapter I was on, and then turned on my computer with the sole intention of deleting spam from my email and posting the following “Waiting Room” pictures drawn on a post-it note.

To my surprise my inbox greeted me with a message from one of my former students at Washington Academy explaining my influence my class has had on his life. He started off by explaining a thrift store purchase he had made of a book by Scott McCloud, a comic book and media arts theorist that I referenced quite a bit during my time teaching media arts. He then the way in which my class has had a noticeable impact on his life and that he wanted me to know that.

I’m sitting here starring at my screen hoping for the right words to explain how this short paragraph made me feel. Teachers often pride themselves on the way in which they energize and excite students about the subjects they are paid to teach but the majority of the time fail to recognize the wonderful service that their students do for them. A proper education process is a two way street; the teacher enlightens the student to new ideas and different ways of thinking related to a variety of subjects. The student considers and then absorbs these thoughts and is thus prepared for more information. On the reverse end, the student’s awakening and enthusiasm toward learning re-energizes a teacher in a way that can only happen in the classroom. This creates a cycle in which the teacher becomes more excited about teaching and develops new ideas to teach the students while the students begins to trust the educator and becomes open to bigger ideas and more abstracts concepts that they may not have been prepared for in the beginning of the educational experience. This yin and yang scenario, when truly balanced properly, is beneficial to bother parties.

All of the work that I created and the ideas that began to incubate in my brain during my time teaching at Washington Academy were developed because of the amazing interactions I had with my students. Some days I would leave class feeling more refreshed than I did on a night where I actually had a chance to sleep the allotted amount for a male in his early 20s. Nothing can match the enthusiasm that students have to learn and I always tried my hardest to be ten times as enthusiastic as they were. This constant battle of excitement helped me reach a creative point in my life that I never thought possible. So to all of my former students, please remember that the lot of you did me a great service just by opening your minds to my wacky ideas of art making. I learned a great deal about my own artistic beliefs from our classes and I want to thank you for the inspiration you instilled in me.

Now with this extra boost of teaching energy I am going to dive through the rest of my postmodern philosophy.

Stay Energized,
Ryan Zlomek

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