This post is very long and quite personal, at time perhaps a bit all over the place but I wished to get down as much as I could about this year. I’ve probably missed a lot of things but I think it’s long enough.
At the start of 2nd year I was worrying a lot about placement year, I had a year to prepare myself for the industry and in my opinion that did not go so well. My portfolio was not to a high enough standard a lot of my work was unfinished, I had little confidence in myself and my art work. I had the smallest amount of motivation too. Even with the time I spent working at Sixteen South I still didn’t feel prepared for going out into proper companies. My summer was spent feeling annoyed at my art and where it was not going. It was all a very negative time. I tried a few companies attempted a draft email to one and didn’t bother with anymore, when I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere especially after one day of crying because I was just done with being so unsuccessful due to my own problems, my mum suggested doing it in her school she works at.
The thought of doing my placement in a school was in my head for a long time before my mum suggested it to me but I never really thought it would be suitable as I wouldn’t be doing Animation there, I thought it could end up being a waste of a year as everyone else in the class would be going back to final year with better skills for animation and the software we use etc. I was definitely in a bit of stump last year, It was a very depressing time and I did get annoyed at myself a lot for things like not working hard enough and letting things get in the way of me learning.
Once my mum got it cleared through the school in September I went to the school for a visit and talk with a member of staff. I was getting quite nervous at this point as I was going to a school I did no know anyone at. I spent the next few months waiting on the AccessNI certificate which was delayed due to things beyond my control and it did annoy me that I missed out on a lot of months because of it but once I got the certificate and was clear to attend the school I was feeling a lot better.
I went into the school as my usual shy and quiet self who could barely speak to the kids let alone the staff. I was finding it hard to talk with the P2 class I was with and in the beginning I felt a bit out of place. I don’t talk or interact with kids at all, I don’t have very young family members anymore and since i’m the most unsocial person ever, my contact with other humans is limited! I would say it took me a while to find out what each kid liked and how I could connect with them, there was one child in particular that I really connected with and he became like a small friend of mine. We connected through Minecraft and Art, in the beginning he wasn’t into drawing much the teacher only noticed the increase in drawing that took place during class once I showed up because I was their “real” artist. It was good to see how my art made a positive impact on someone, I never really know if my art is any good or use to people even though I post it online I rarely get feedback from anyone. (I would like feedback though…it would help me deal with criticisms better.)
Over the 6 months I was able to help this child who does have a learning difficulty express himself through drawing. Once he had paper he would quieten down and become less of a distraction to the class. He got a drawing book from one teacher because of this and they actually ended up writing this down for his future teacher to use next year to help him. I’m glad I was able to make a difference to someone! This lead into me looking at Art Therapy as a potential career in future but I realised that it could be hard to get into or make money from so becoming a teacher or classroom assistant would be a better way as then you’d be able to introduce that kind of help to all the students you’d be with.
During my time there I also got the see a “real” trainee Teacher and what sort of things she had to do for her degree, she was the same age as me and went straight into teaching. I got to see the kind of work she had to do on top of being there to teach the children and I also got to experience how she was assessed on two occasions. I’ve looked into the ways of becoming a teacher and i’m still quite confused about how I, an Animation student would fit in and manage to become a teacher as my subject isn’t exactly one that is taught in school. I found that tend to look for those with qualifications in English and Maths etc. Art was also one that was perhaps not looked down on but had too many people trying to become art teachers and such. I have always wanted to become an Art teacher because mine were not exactly 10/10 teachers and I wanted to do a better job for future artists.
I had several opportunities to teach art lessons, once with P5s and a lot of times with the P7s. These experiences were challenging at the time as you know i’m the worst at presenting since i’m so shy and have panic attack like things before doing such things but after getting up in front of the P7s a lot of times I got used to it but that doesn’t mean I still wasn’t a bit nervous!! Getting up to draw in front of kids who probably have high expectations of you because you’re a “real” artist was quite daunting to me because I tend to hide my art from people I know in real life it’s hard to deal with people’s real reactions to my art not that i’m scared of possible bad reactions…I think it’s more that I don’t want to let them down.
The entire 6 months has been a massive learning experience for me in many ways. I’ve been able to not only learn about myself but also built upon so many skills through working at Cavehill. I’ve also become somewhat aware of how I should improve myself for final year and how I’m perhaps a bit of a bothersome student because I didn’t pay an awful lot of attention in class last year. ALSO! This year has got really thinking about what exactly do I want to do after final year? Do I want to go into teaching? Do I want to be an assistant? Would I prefer doing Art/Animation as a job? At the minute I wish to give final year the chance it deserves and I want to see how successful that year will go. I wouldn’t mind doing Art related things as a job but I still feel that the Animation industry is not right for me. I enjoyed the times of working at school, it gave me time to work on my Art when I got home (and also University work but I can’t guarantee that was priority…I’m sorry, I know my university work is important but drawing took over most of the time…plus the Procrastinator life is still with me…) so that quite appeals to me more than working long hours and looking at computer screens for days while doing something I most likely don’t enjoy.
As I mentioned above I used this year as a chance to improve on my drawing skills. You’ll see in my personal posts just a small amount of the drawing I did over the entire year and I would like to think that my art is now heading a good direction. I would like to apologise for the lack of maya though…I still do not enjoy using it and it’s part of the reason why I don’t see myself going into Animation.