Yesterday was the last day of an awesome class. I always love teaching–let me repeat that, I love it, even when the class is kicking my ass, giving me tons of resistance, and making me work work work to find ways to get them engaged. But, sometimes, I just love them a little more…I am human after all.
The last two days of class are slotted for the visual resume project. Now, you may think I am being trendy for moving in the direction of the flashy, supplemental visual resume, or maybe my choice is redundant. Who needs a visual resume if they have a solid conventional resume or cv? Truth be told, I started doing this for two reasons.
One is purely selfish–I wanted to create my own visual resume; I generally can find no better excuse for doing something myself than asking my students to do it. The second reason stems from my previous final project, a self-reflective creative exploration of the student’s learning journey. While amazingly successful (I loved grading iMovie renditions of “Santeria,” original songs, video games, and gorgeously designed Keynotes), it failed to fill an important void in my students’ education. I never understood how to write a resume, nor how to make myself attractive to employers except by painful trial and error. My students currently do not get valuable instruction on building a professional persona. As other courses in their programs discuss resumes, I am prevented from doing so (to avoid redundancy). So, how could I integrate a bit of self-reflection, practical practice with that professional image, and one last challenge to BE CREATIVE into one assignment?
The answer was the visual resume. I am often amused by the way this project unfolds in class. Oftentimes, the results are completely polarized. I get either amazing, impeccably designed, well-developed visual resumes that would wow even the most doubtful of employers; well-developed, designed, but still somewhat formulaic attempts (incredible! Could the visual resume already be formulaic?); or quickly and haphazardly designed attempts at squeaking by with a passing grade. People either love or hate this assignment. Those who love it are eager for a chance to express a small bit of their vision; those who hate it say they just can’t do it or they aren’t creative or they don’t want to talk about themselves). One student spent the majority of yesterday’s class yelling at his laptop, muttering not quite so softly (I have teacher ears; I hear all) about how torturous this project was.
At the time, it annoyed me, but then I considered how much I gripe about how dissatisfied with my own visual resume I am, how torturous it is for me to make revisions to it that I am satisfied with, and how completely horrendous my latest cover letter was before deep slash and burn by the one and only Alex Rister.
All of this has led to a deeper empathy (maybe) for the task I put before my students. It’s not easy for me to be satisfied with a project I’ve worked on for 8 months now. Can I really expect them to fall in love with the idea over the course of, at best, two days, and at worst as in today’s class, one day? In an effort to answer these questions, I am going to chill for a moment, let go, and accept my visual resume as it is. There are aspects of it I quite like, despite feeling entirely unsure of what picture it paints of me. It is a representation of my versatile talents, interests, and those completely bizzarre aspects of my personality I can’t squeeze into the spaces between my education and my memberships on a CV. And that is something to be proud of. Truly.