For the longest time, I thought that one day, later in life I would teach. It wasn’t a real plan, just a thought. I am by nature, an introverted person. I don’t have an outgoing personality. Initiating a conversation with people I don’t know, has always been difficult for me. So, the problem was that getting in front of a classroom full of students didn’t seem like something that I could, or would ever do.
The catalyst for my entry into the world of teaching was the digital age. In the years following the introduction of the first Macintosh I would hear about this or that advertising agency that was getting into computers. By the beginning of the 90s, I was very anxious about the changes that were taking place in the graphic world. Computers had been integrated into the business side of agencies for quite a few years, but now the Mac was changing the creative side as well. Could I do it? Was I capable of completely transforming the way I had practiced my profession for many years?
One of my freelance clients was an agency that offered me a full-time position. The client list at Altman Meder Lawrence Hill included Johnson & Johnson Medical, GTE TSI, Goodbuy Sportswear, Home Shopping Network, Speedling, and Munters. The agency wanted me to come aboard as senior art director and be involved in the conversion of their art department to Macs.
Two trainers came into our offices and worked individually with the art department staff. The one-on-one teaching was very effective and I was impressed with how quickly we transformed our work product from markers and rubber cement, to pixels and bits. I had been out of college and out of the learning environment for many years but I took to these new technologies very well. I also ended up helping others in the art department as I progressed.
The very first digitally produced job to come out of the art department was a direct mail package for GTE TSI’s annual conference. My trainer and I worked in Quark. She helped me set up some very complicated paragraph style sheets for the project. It was intense, grueling, and awesome. It didn’t hurt that my trainer was very patient and very knowledgeable. I learned so much, so fast. I learned by doing. Watching, listening, and doing. I saw that teaching was a very powerful thing.