So I decided to take a Drawing course at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario and two weeks in the faculty go on strike. I’ve been a teacher on strike so I know how it feels. It ain’t a good feeling.
On my second class I took some pictures of the facilities for a drawing class. To say it is a shit hole is an understatement. I have never seen a clay sculpture room in such a horrible mess. I took an ice pick to scrape the plaster off the tables so we could actually use the surfaces to draw. The sinks were plugged with stagnant water and overflowing with un-cleaned stainless steel bowls covered in hard plaster Here is a pic of the broom they use to sweep around the silica dust.
I taught part time at Sheridan College for 15 years and I can tell you there would be hell to pay if students ever left a room looking like this. They were taught to vacuum and wet mop in the Bobby Orr fashion of stick handling. The studio technologist Hugh Douglas Murray was very responsible for the health and safety of students and faculty.
This is what happens when 70% of the faculty are part time and when support staff are cut to a minimum. I’m sure the caretakers open the door have a look and say there is no frickin’ way I’m going to try to clean that pig stye. This is what the strike is about! It is the paring down of full time jobs. The business model of running a school of higher education. No pensions, no benefits, no talk back from part timers. You never know whether you have a job next semester or not. Talk back and for sure you don’t!
The part time faculty are paid for hours of teaching. They are off and running to another paying gig or home to their studios to make enough money to pay the bills. They are only paid for hours of teaching.. Management likes part timers because they get no benefits, can be fired at will, and they always work longer than the teaching hours they get paid for. Teaching craft is not like teaching math. OK class open your textbook at page 44 and do the questions at the end of the chapter.
No studio should look like this and cleaning up should be taught. As I have said before 15% of the time I spend being a potter is spent actually making things. The rest of the time is maintenance!
I totally support the faculty on strike. If the schools keep following the business model soon 70% of the courses will be online. Learn all you need to be a fine craftsperson on U-tube. Amazon U.
I probably would have asked for my money back.
I am at a loss as to how such a well educated mass could allow this to happen. Perhaps the golden calf is not the answer.
I'm curious, Tony: I spend 80+% of my time making wares in my studio, how is it possible to only spend 15% of your time with clay and be a potter? I'm happily (and 100% by choice) an unknown potter, I don't do workshops, I don't write books, I don't do Facebook or twitter, I just try to make damned good pots for my wonderful clients. Please tell us how it is possible to make a living as a potter with so few hours in your studio? Reminds me of hearing Adam Field say at his presentation on social media at enseekuh a few years ago that he spends more time on social media than he does in his studio...Really? Why?
Thanks for your blog! Cheers from Oregon!