What I have learnt as an instructor

Pauline Le Pichon
3 min readMay 21, 2023

In September 2021, I started working as an instructor.
I had happily accepted the job, but part of me was convinced that I wasn’t good enough. For the first two weeks, I felt like I didn’t belong.
I was even sure I was going to give up this job. However, many things quickly convinced me to continue, and I’m glad I did because being an instructor has taught me a lot.

Being creative

The first thing I realised was that when you’re a teacher, you have to be creative. You have to find a way to achieve certain goals.
In my case, my goal is to get students to speak and write in English through different art (and sometimes design) topics. So I have to find topics that can interest them and questions to make them talk.
Most of the time, this is quite easy because I’m an artist myself. For example, I watch a video and imagine questions related to what is said in the video, and I always end up adding broader questions.
It can be anything from Edward Hopper’s paintings to Keith Haring’s diary, from Siouxsie and The Banshees’ music to Marina Abramovic’s performances.

Sharing, discovering, helping

Being an instructor allows me to discover students who share interesting things during the classes. They are young but already very cultivated, curious, intelligent and open-minded. So I’m always happy to listen to what they have to say.
I correct the answers if necessary. Explaining the rules to the students is always great, because you feel how much it can help them. I feel useful, and I think about one of my teachers in high school who knew how much I loved English and always made the lessons and exams engaging. I hope to be that kind of teacher.

Being more than just an instructor

Teachers don’t always care about what is going on in their students’ lives. But, in my opinion, a teacher should be someone the students can rely on, someone they can trust and talk to if they want to.
It’s not about being friends with your students (you have to set limits). It’s about being there for them if they need help.
I am a sensitive person and when I was young I didn’t feel very good about myself. I remember not getting help when I needed it.
So if I can help them, even a little bit, I’m happy to do so.

Working on myself

I’m an artist, so I’m used to speaking in front of people, yet I can’t help but feel my heart racing when I have to do it.
Fortunately, it’s better than before. I mean, I’m always nervous for the first minutes of the class, but it never lasts because I know my students and I know where we’re going. It allows me to work on myself and be more confident.

Doing something that makes me happy

I’m an artist and photographer. I love these jobs.
However, part of me always wanted to teach, but I couldn’t imagine what it was like to be a teacher. As I said above, I was very scared at first. It took me a few weeks to realise how great teaching is. It’s an amazing job that makes me find new ways to be creative and useful, meet wonderful people, and discover a part of myself I didn’t know before. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for me.

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Pauline Le Pichon

I’m a French visuel artist, freelance photographer, instructor and writer.