The rookie teacher

The jet lag is kicking my behind today, manifesting as a plod through soup as i go about my day, s l o w l y. It’s amazing how you can pack so much into a fortnight’s holiday, yet sitting at my desk today it’s as if i’ve never been away. So i sink into my photos, and remember the places i have been, starting with my four days beside Squam Lake.

It was my first time leading a full day’s workshop – Unravelling started as an evening class, so i’d only taught in two-hour chunks before – and I was feeling a bit nervous, as you’d expect. But as i spent time putting the class together i felt more and more passionate about my topic – photographic composition, something i discovered I could talk about for hours.

With a slideshow and talk in the morning and a photo safari around the lake after lunch, I tried to share as much as I could in the time we had.  Each group had a different energy, meaning i learned twice as much in my two days of teaching; it probably wasn’t the most polished workshop at SAW, but i hope i made up for that with enthusiasm, humour and the occasional f-bomb, just to keep it real ;) By the end of the second day there were tears from me as i looked through my students’ photos – i was so blown away by their images and how their eyes had developed over an afternoon of shooting; it was a truly humbling experience.

This session of Squam Art Workshops was very different from last year, as I experienced it from the other side of the fence, as a teacher. I found that each night I wanted nothing more than a roaring fire and a quiet night in my cabin, as the day’s activities left me high but drained (it didn’t help that YET AGAIN i had a cold. And YET AGAIN i lost my voice – by day two i was practically barking at people, just to get the words out. At points I was whispering. I kid you not.) This year I knew I was there to give and nurture, rather than learn and take; this year I also had the honour of meeting so many Unravellers, and getting feedback from them, in person, in the sunshine as we walked around a beautiful lake was simply magical. I am so grateful to be doing this work. I had a moment of true peace on the last night, knowing that despite the cold in my bones, and the cold running out of my nose (lovely), this is the way forward for me. Sharing, teaching, learning, photographing, writing. Connecting. It suddenly all made sense, as i shuffled over to throw another log on the fire.

Thank you Grace, Sandra, Diane, Joan, Melissa, Tanya, Lisa, Carrie, Stacee, Alice, Tammy, Kerry, Meghan, Kelley, Jayne, Beth, Jennifer, Alison, Sarah, Heidi, Karen, Lily, Nicola and Donna for trusting me with a day of your Squam experience. Each of you truly rocked my world!

21 responses
  1. bella

    :) this makes me smile. i’m loving that you got to have the experience both ways. (not loving that you were sick both times!!)
    ~and meeting your student unravellers must’ve been the icing on the cupcake ;0)
    loved sharing a little bit of time with you. now rest up sweet girl. xo

  2. Bria

    Wow Susannah, your experience sounds absolutely lovely (aside from the cold part. :-/). I wish I could have been there!

  3. Jude

    How lovely and inspiring, if you had that great a time with a cold, it was a true-blue awesome experience :)

  4. Meghan

    Oh, and you rocked our worlds!! I LOVED being with you in person, learning from you, laughing with you, having my polaroid shack up with your polaroid. The only possible way it could have been better was if you felt better. Damn cold! Thank you for all you shared and gave us. xo

  5. karen d

    And you rocked ours, I loved meeting you in person and learning something to boot.. it was great fun and I would do it again!

  6. Charlane Killough Griffith

    so beautiful – sorry about the cold. i worry about you and the us air

  7. melissa Piccola

    I thoroughly enjoyed your class and these photos just make me smile! xoxo

  8. Jennifer Lee

    You are a teacher at heart. So gifted. So wise. And so hilarious! Love when you throw in the f-bomb :) Thank you for creating a safe and creative space for us to play and explore.

  9. Jenn C.

    Sounds like it was an amazing couple of classes!

    Any chance you’ll even teach at the June SAW?

  10. Catalina

    wao! it has to be wonderful experience! both sides. I’m an Unraveller too (so proud of it! :) ) and I have to tell you that your e-courses are like “Meditation in movement” (people describes Taichi this way as well) To say that unfolds life through photography and art and takes you to another dimension -more creative and with a bunch of energy- of your own life. So: THANK YOU!

  11. Mel

    :) lovely post and I agree you are a natural teacher.

  12. Carol

    Fantastic polaroids Susannah! I’ve loved all of your polaroids from Squam, including the sneak peak that was posted last week I think.

  13. susannah

    the June SAW seems to be more for the crafty-knitting crew, so i think my photography class fits better with the September workshops :)

  14. susannah

    thank you, love – thank you to all of you lovelies! :)

  15. susannah

    thank you, hon – bless your heart :)

  16. jen gray

    just love you so!

  17. Karen D

    I hope you do it again next Sept..

  18. boho girl

    this made me cry.
    my heart is full of happiness for you, my friend.


  19. Lis

    i think we all got a double helping of goodness: having wonderful instructors passionate about their craft like “toi” AND the joy of Squam memories captured through your lens. I feel like I had many cameras taking pictures for me to treasure.

    xo Lis

  20. Jennifer

    what beautiful photographs from squam. you can see the magic in these photos and feel the love. I just love how it opened up a door for you that was slowly opening. You are magic my dear, you are magic!

  21. Jenn C.

    That’s a pity, some of us crafty-knitting types like branching out for new challenges. I’ll content myself with watching out for one of your on-line courses. Thanks for the answer!

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