On top of all the stuff I've learned this week about audio production from concept to finish, it has also been an enlightening and at times tremendously painful experience to be a student again.
One thing I wasn't expecting--but which is, of course, true in every class--is that there was a huge range of experience among the participants, from seasoned radio professionals to people like me, who knew they wanted the knowledge but were clueless.
The thing is, I'm not a very patient learner. I knew that about myself already, but it became a real obstacle this week. Every day, multiple times a day (and often multiple times an hour), I'd modulate from being exhilarated to being frustrated to tears, literally, and constantly felt like I must be the stupidest person in the world. So stupid, in fact, that I wasn't about to ask for help because then everyone would discover just how stupid I truly was. And I honestly had no idea whether I was "getting" it or not--at least, not for a loooong time.
As a teacher, I forget what that's like. I hope that I'm approachable, and I know I tell students to ask stupid questions, since (as the cliché goes), if you don't know the answer, it's not a stupid question. But this experience made me realize that you have to go a bit beyond that. And what seems most important is that you be accessible and patient and have time for those students who aren't confident or assertive enough to make those moves in the classroom itself.
These ideas tie into possible uses for audio in the classroom. We listened to an amazing audio diary piece written by a guy taking a course where college students traveled cross-country by train, studying Kerouac's On the Road en route. The person who played the piece had been on the trip, providing technical support, and said that the young man who wrote and narrated it was painfully shy. I could relate. I always do better, and feel more inclined to share, if I have a script. Hell, that's why I like being the teacher rather than the student.
What I did expect, and did encounter, was a run-in with my old nemesis, perfectionism. I have to say, though, that sheer exhaustion kept it at bay. Several times today while we were editing our final piece, I found myself saying things to my co-producer that were as much for myself as for her: for example, when she wanted to keep toying with the basic sequence of the story, I said it was fine as it was, and that I wanted to move on to the editing because that's the stuff I really needed to learn. And we did. And when we could've stayed for another hour or two tinkering with volume levels and other minutia, I finally convinced her that it was good enough as is.
Yeah, me saying good enough. I guess I have learned a lot this week.