search  current discussion  categories  teaching 

vince/advanced study

updated tue 19 oct 04


mel jacobson on mon 18 oct 04

remember vince, my comments are most often
in reference to a question on clayart. a women
60 asked about mfa's and teaching.

my post was about adults and advanced degrees.

a young, vigorous, intelligent candidate should
of course seek teaching employment. daunting, yes,
but as louis pointed can be done, and will be
done if you can move around the country.

if i were a dean of a college, and had to choose.
30 year old, A/ student. smart, high energy, ready
to roll, and will give my university or college 30 years
of service....yes.

a 55 year old, new student, untried, untested...will
give the college tops, 10 years of, perhaps, good service.
who do you chose? and then consider illness,
body energy issues. i would have to have considerable
courage to hire someone in this category....or, the person
would have to have amazingly unusual ability.

it is a numbers game. and, often it is never about a
candidates ability, resume`.
you have to fit a set of variables. department politics play
the big roll....and of course for women, a huge bias from
administration. `a women will not be able to take care of the
facility, kilns, tools. we need a strong young man...technical
experience.` would anyone like to tell me that karen terpstra,
diana pancoli, dannon rhudy and the like, would not be able
to take care of a kiln? but, that is the perception. and most often
it is the killer. then add the puzzle piece/ 55 year old, new teacher,
women....the bias is overwhelming.

i base most of my thinking on:
`what would a tell that person if they came to me for a
written recommendation?` or, if they stopped at the house
and asked my opinion. ( as former students do, all the time.)

the worst piece of advice an adult can give is:
`go for it, you can do anything if you really try`.
well, i want to be a major league pitcher for the red socks.
or, i want to play center for the los angeles lakers,
or, i want to be a new york model, underwear.
know what? i will never get to do any of those things...ever.
no matter how hard i try. you cannot teach speed, size or height.

and, i would tell anyone that is over 40, wanting a degree (mfa) in
clay.....go for it, but don't make it a career move to teaching.
do it for you....see what plays out.

and, then add:

`mel, i am 48, and i want to teach college, here in
minneapolis, perhaps the university of minnesota. `
and you know what? it is often that restricted. `my wife
has a good job here in town..what are my chances of
getting a college teaching job around here? ` none.
buy lottery tickets, same chance.

there are many days that an adult, experienced person
cannot be `politically correct`. tell the truth.
if they stomp off, give you the be it.
it happens like that once in awhile.
but, one smiles when they come back with their
tail between their legs. life is about reality.
we have far too many people out there giving advice
that `folks love to hear`. then we all `feel` good.
(for a few minutes.)

Minnetonka, Minnesota, U.S.A.
web site:
or try:

wjskw@BELLSOUTH.NET on mon 18 oct 04

Hey Mr Mayor!
Save all those fingers you've been getting!
Sooner or later, you can build an extra hand.
Everybody needs an extra hand, especially potters.

You might even (gulp, ahem) be able to "hand build it".
(I know, I know, WHACK with the 2X4 )

Wayne Seidl
"Responsibility falls down, while blame falls up"

there are many days that an adult, experienced person
cannot be `politically correct`. tell the truth.
if they stomp off, give you the be it.
it happens like that once in awhile.

Krista Peterson on mon 18 oct 04

Thankyou Mel, for being realistic. Not many people are when it comes to giving advice or
critiquing work. Everyone wants to be positive and upbeat and I think that is as hurtful
as negativity in certain situations.

Krista Peterson