Wednesday, September 12, 2012

teaching this year

I love teaching.

By now some of you who follow this blog, and are students out at Sheridan, will know that I am not teaching this year.

I think I owe you guys a bit of an explanation.

The main reason is just that I got another, full time job and its just plain financial sense to go with the bucks.

But I also became frustrated with some of the craziness going on out at the college.

The teaching isn't bad, really, dollarwise, the hourly rate is pretty good.
And where else can you just stand and spout about what you love and they pay you?
But the thing that happens is that the 10 hours I get paid for turns into 20 hours , sometimes 30 if there is an assignment to be marked, and thats just not good business.
As I have made plain in the years I was there, a large part of your education is becoming a professional and getting used to doing stuff like the pros. That means, no work for free. Not even your mother!
We all do it - all the pieces done for good causes  - fundraisers, friends, galleries - but as a pro you should be compensated in some way for what you do  - it is your intellectual property!
 We don't call it mercenary - just smart.
So, sorry, Sheridan, enough free time.

It is also a boycott. I am not in favour of the recent hike in admissions up to 150.
The college is watering down the brand.
As it is, too many are admitted that are in truth just not ready, that trend will be reinforced with even more numbers.
I'm sorry, there are too many of you. You should not all be there, you should be given a heart to heart talk, then go and do the work necessary to be properly prepared for first year.
Besides, it is killing the faculty.
We can't deal with the numbers as it is; we are not able to spend enough time with each student for them to to be able to understand what we are saying, to learn what they need know. More, to practice it enough to get better at it. Animation is a master /apprentice craft and to teach it properly there must be teacher /student interaction. Too many of them are left to slip off the edge of the raft and disappear into the frigid night of frustration and disappointment.
So, I refuse to spread myself that thin.

Part of it is your fault. There were too many absences, too many assignments not handed in or worse, dashed off at the last minute and handed in, expecting a mark. There is too much of a climate of entitlement. I didn't go through the last 30 years working for George Lucas and  Disney and Bluth and Brad Bird - and believe me, working for those guys wasn't a piece of cake - and reach the level I have in the industry, just to get dissed by a bunch of students. If I had me as a teacher, i wouldn't miss a class. I put a lot of work into presenting the material and expect the same in return. You gotta be there and I mean all there. After all, It's your time and money, you shouldn't waste it - as i said in class, at least let me know if you aren't going to show - again , be a pro!

So, theres some of it anyway. There is more, but that's enough for now.

I t's not that I don't like teaching, but from now on, it has to be on my terms.
I will miss you, when it worked, it was the best.

If any of this sounds unfair, let me know - I am more than happy to discuss it...

But I do love teaching.


Yinxu said...

We will miss you very much Scott and I thiNk everyone should read your article!

d.Ane said...

Scott I learned the hard way from you , and case easily say your class was one of my favorites. I spent most of the summer doing perspective and layout because of the insight you gave me in and out of class. You will be missed.

Angela Pan said...

I love seeing the materials you bring to class, your work is so amazing, just looking at them make me want to work so much harder. I learned a lot from each of your assignments and you were very attentive and helpful when I showed you thumbnails and ideas and asked questions in your office hours. I was really sad when I heard you left, but I knew I can't complain because I'm one of the many students that missed classes. I think I had put in all my efforts for every assignment, but I'm very sorry to have missed some of your classes due to my poor time managemet skills in first term. Thank you for an awesome 2nd year layout class, the skills and knowledge I learned from you is an great asset that'll help me in my pursuit in animation!!! Wish you the best! :)

Suka Strife said...

Yesterday a friend and I were watching Raiders of the Lost Ark, and we scoured the credits to find your name and cheered when we did.

Thanks for the patience. I know I wasn't the best student, but I learned a lot more about perspective than I ever did before, and I'm glad I got the chance.

Take care, and congratulations on your new full time job! I'll pay attention for other credit cards.

Elaine Chen said...

I agree with most of what you are saying and understand completely. It was a great honor to have had you as a teacher. You will be missed too! The industry is small,and I hope one day we may just run into each other again!

Best of wishes on your new journey=) I am sure anything you do will be awesome..and fun=)

jyu said...

had one year with you Scott, it was a blast.
excited to see what your making on the big screen!

Natalia Ross said...

You will be really missed Scott!

I think you brought up a really valid point, that some people just need to get their heads on straight and not miss classes and just prepare themselves in order to work their 100%, because quite frankly I think many people (including myself) were not living up and working hard enough for the standards that were there (for whatever reasons they had).

It's not an easy job, and so earning marks shouldn't come easy. (Hence, part of the reason I took the year off - was to get myself prepared and organized so I could work to my full potential rather than half-assing everything). Everyone should read this and understand that sugar-coating things is pointless. Working hard is what will pay off.

I hope you are able to find fulfillment at your new job and you are truly an inspiration for everyone! I worked all summer on my layouts and perspective in my free time. If it wasn't for you, I'd probably never even like layout! Best of luck and cheers!

Tom Dow said...

Scott, thank you for saying what's been on my mind (not about Sheridan, but about animation education in general) for some time now! More educators should take a stand as you have, and all animation students should honestly assess their own skills and take a good, hard look at the state of the industry before choosing this career path.

Kimberly said...

Scott, I was so sad to hear that you have left us! You were my one of my 4 most favourite teachers at Sheridan. I missed your one on one teachings, and agree, a student teacher environment works much more favourably in mastering the craft. I'm astonished and slightly appalled that Sheridan would even think to add more students to the program as it is already severely diluted. I suppose they really need the money. Anyways, I really hope I get to see you again in the future, on the more professional side anyways! Thank you for your wonderful teachings, it was a great inspiration!

Neilizza said...

Thanks for the lectures Scott. You were an awesome teach for layout. The stuff you bring in class inspires me to be better in layout. And you're right. So many people skipped out of class just to lazy around and then later, would wonder why you fail them. It's not rocket science why they failed. You will be missed.

Nikolas Ilic said...

Thats a big loss to Sheridan Scott. You were always one of the teachers I would mention I had while attending Sheridan, not only because you are well known in the industry but mainly because that one of the classes I took away with my time at Sheridan. All the best and I hope to work together again!

Zerahoc said...

I'll be missing your class, Scott. I always enjoyed layout, I thought it was something I did well in. And you taught it well, always willing to put in the time to help students (like me) who asked for it.

Winona Janega said...

I believe the most important things a student can do is attend every class, not be tardy, and hand assignments in on time. Obviously situations arise that make that not possible, but it's obvious that most of the students who have fallen to bad habits are simply doing it because they choose to/bring it upon themselves.

While I was never particularly proud of what I produced in the line of assignments, your class was one I looked forward to each week. I'm glad I saved all the material you had put in the Hand-out folder so that I can go back to it from time to time. I particularly appreciate how you exposed us to other artists; after one of the final presentations you did, I went and did a lot of internet surfing on Marcelo Vignali and his work (who I'd seen a few pieces of before, but never knew the name of the artist), because I found his art so entrancing.

I feel sorry for the years below me, but hopefully the new layout teacher will have plenty to offer them. You had given us your business card at the end of the semester saying you wouldn't mind if we emailed you over the summer for feedback and other such things. I was hoping to take you up on that but regrettably never did. Perhaps one day I will, but I suppose it makes most sense to not be a nuisance to past teachers and use my current teachers for my inquiries, haha. :)

Janice Chu said...

Scott, thank you for saying and sharing a lot of my frustrations about Sheridan. I agree with you 100% with what you have said.

I will truly miss you as a teacher. I loved every class and loved all the refs you brought into each class. (I always took the In the Future.., LOVE THAT BOOK) Thank you so much for photocopying Atlantis Character Designs and all your class demos.

I'm glad that I was also able to discuss other schools with you especially AAU. I hope the students there will treat you much better (if you are teaching there still)

Thank you Scott, and good luck on your new awesome job! =)

MIshkedeh-Bizikhe said...

Thanks so much for your class last year! I'll always keep your handouts and remember your shared love of all things medieval! :D Good luck on your new job!

Mel said...

Irony often comes from dichotomies, and in this case it was that one of our best teachers is now no longer teaching. Why? Because that which makes a great teacher is also the quality that causes them to quit: caring too much to take the job casually.

You inspired me to be a better artist and I'm thankful you could teach in a subject I felt so inept in. Environment design is creeping into my portfolio all thanks to your inspiration. I'll miss talking with you about movies and medieval times.

It looks, from the amount of outpouring from students, like many people are willing strong winds into your artistic sails as you journey into new adventures, Mr. Caple!

mélanie daigle said...

What a great write up Scott. I totally admire your decision to do something that discourages these terrible trends (the 150 admission thing is not just happening in education, man, that mindset is creeping up everywhere... profits profits profits now, but at what cost, long term?) I'm wishing you nothing but the best in your future projects!

Fortunately for those of us who were in your class consistently, we had a pretty good teacher/student ratio thanks to the absentees, haha! Seriously though, thanks so much for all your help through the years at Sheridan, Scott! I was never much of a BG & layout person (don't think I ever will be), so your classes and advice were very, very much appreciated! :)


Yipes, great feedback!
Dane, Thanks, i kind of owe you an apology, i made some reference to you not working hard enough back in the spring, but I remember you getting into the tonal rendering assignment, so I

Suka: Raiders! see the next post!

Angela, you can make up for missed classes by going to all of Jim Caswell's.

Elaine: we will, i am sure of it!

Janice: as a matter of fact , i am doing the online course again. Will talk about that in more detail soon.

Tom: Of this and more, sir....

melanie: you were better than you think!

Nik: Name dropper!

Winona: well, the point I was trying to make is that, yes, sometimes something has to give and you must make a choice, but the professional will be up front about it, communicate with all concerned and work out a solution. Don't be shy, use that card!

Natalia: Thanks for your comments! You are right in saying that it is all about the work..sometimes we don't know what it's going to require, but that is part of the learning process. yes, we Missed you in the second semester. Good luck as you go for it again. Remember, you have friends on either side....

To the rest: Wow, thanks for the comments, never had so many before! maybe this topic needs more discussion.

J Caswell said...

Well said, Mr. Caple! I'll miss you too.
From your description, I thought you were "Layabout."

Praveen Nadaraju said...

This seems like a repetitive storyline for Sheridan.

Everything written is bang on.

J Caswell said...

Sorry, I meant to type: "teaching Layabout." Not to imply you were a layabout.

Dan said...

Scott, a great loss for Sheridan in my opinion. I couldn't believe some of the attendance issues our year had. I enjoyed your classes and the one on one feedback you'd give. Thank you, please stay in touch.

Kayleigh said...

I have to thank you, I learned a lot in your class and got better at layout from it. Layout was something I used to be afraid of, but now I enjoy it a lot, even though it's not one of my strengths. I really hope to get great at it and will continue to practice it as much as I can. I'm sorry that some students frustrated you, and I understand. There are quite a few people who do slack off and don't show up. In the end, they won't be getting jobs...and even if they do, they won't make it in the industry and will get fired. I don't understand, they're in the best animation school in the world, with amazing and experienced teachers, yet they don't take advantage of it at all. But in the end, more jobs for the people who actually do work their butts off.

I don't agree with admitting more people either. I like the smaller classes and more interaction between the student and teachers.

You will be missed, and are missed. Good luck at your new job and hope you enjoy it (:

Melody Wang said...

Hear hear!
But we're still sorry to have missed you (2nd year student)

Yinxu said...

Today while I was listening to the Hunchback soundtrack, my mind flashed back to the many class we had with you. You were a huge inspiration to me even though I was weak at layout and didn't plan on pursuing it. You are amazing and we will all miss you very very much. Hopefully we can have another lovely dinner chat soon :)

Mehreen said...

Scott, you will definitely be missed. Your designs from hunchback definitely got me more interested in architectural design, which i practiced a lot over the summer. You have been the biggest inspiration for me in terms of improving on backgrounds. I do regret missing some of your classes. I blame my poor sleeping schedule.

Pete Emslie said...

Scott, much thanks for putting into words so eloquently the frustrations that many of we faculty members share. I've never quite understood why some students decide to habitually skip their classes, as there is so much information being presented that is essential to their completing the assignments properly. Even simply in terms of value, with course tuition as much as it is, this would be akin to ordering an expensive meal in a restaurant, taking a couple of bites and then leaving the rest on the plate uneaten! Thank goodness for the dedicated students in each class who are there every week on time and ready to learn - they are the ones who truly make our job as instructors worthwhile.

By the way, I too worry about this additional 25 students that are now being admitted to the Animation program, as that will further divide the time we're able to spend with any of them as individuals. I'd far rather they instead reduce the number of students and cap it at 100 each year, in order to maintain a higher average ability and hopefully encourage those students to be more engaged in the program and what skills we have to pass onto them.

Janice Chu said...

I'm glad you are still teaching at the AAU =) I hope you drill them with your grids and perspective! Sometimes I really wish I moved to another school after 2nd year.

I am also very annoyed at Sheridan, why they are allowing more students in. There are some individuals who shouldn't even be in animation and yet they are still "passing" I'm really annoyed that in some cases, the students who put no effort into their work are getting the exact same passing grade as those who work extremely hard. I'm not saying you're doing that Scott, because I had to work my butt off just to get decent on those thumbnails. I really wish that sheridan could just fail the students who don't deserve to be there instead of trying to get as much money. I was talking to my coworkers during my summer internship and they were telling us how hard it was just to get an A, they had to actually earn that grade.

Sheridan is all about showing off how many students they have now and about their prized technology. Honestly, it doesn't even matter if they have that if the student cannot even produce good work on them. It's all for show.


HI Everyone,

Well, to address a few of the more recent comments. Dan, Melody, Yinxu,Mehreen, Janice, Kayleigh,PETE! thank you for the interest! This post really took off!

Kayleigh, As you so rightly point out, it sorts itself out. Not everyone will make it, sad to say. fact of life.
I most certainly realize that not everyone is cut out to do layout, and i think i acccepted that with the students. I tried to let folks play to their strengths, ie, do an assignment using CG, if their drawing was weak. That happens. And some of you i could see have "producer " written allover you, becuase you were very organized, even if the drawing wasn't there.and that's fine!

Cal Chan said...

hey scott, its true, there are way too many students in this program and to add more is ridiculous. hope to bump into u soon! in this industry.. its bound to happen! miss you man! all the best!

Lish said...

Scott, thank you for everything you taught me in layout. I don't know what to say that hasn't already been said by my colleagues, but I learned a lot in your class.

Although layout does not come easy to me, it was certainly my favorite class. The materials you would bring in to show us were always so inspiring.

Thank you again for everything you taught us!

Frank Hong said...

Scott, I was shocked to hear about the lack of respect some student were presenting you. You are hands down one of the best artists to teach at Sheridan and I can't put into words how honored I and everyone of your students should feel. You are right to have made this choice, and I wish you all the best!

Although I worry about Sheridan and the newer years. I hope this coming generation will have the awareness they so need.

Mark said...

Hey Scott!
Great Post and Congrats on the full time gig. Sheridan and all the students who ever took your class were very lucky to have had you. (myself included of course!) Although I am sure this was a hard decision for you and that you'll miss teaching this year, it is definitely more their loss than yours. I learned so much from you in the one semester that I switched into your class, so thanks and I hope to see you around.


Fraeya said...

hey Scott,

congrats on the gig. Still sad to hear you're leaving. Not sad for you - I know whatever you do will be awesome. It's a real loss for next year's students. I learned so much from you about composition, thumbnailing and perspective. Layout was easily one of my favourite classes.

I understand your reasons for doing it though and I agree that it's probably for the best. I wish Sheridan could see the feedback this is getting. I agree too - the cohort they're taking in is just getting to be way too big. I know it'll sort itself out when everyone graduates; not everyone gets a job after all. However, I feel it's really unfair to the students. If they're let in when they're not ready, Sheridan takes their money and they're left with a less than satisfactory experience and no job prospects at the end of it will...unfair doesn't even begin to describe it.

Roman Rajbhandari said...

hi scott,

i feel like i was one of the students who skipped many of the classes, and i owe an apology. i do feel like i learned a lot from you, however i could have learned more. you will be missed as you were one of the teachers who let students do what they wanted. like you let me do assignments in 3d, which i really appreciate, i learned from your class what i am really interested it. thank you

Chris Hong said...

oh Scott ;_; we will miss you. I will remember you for having been one of the only teachers to tell us we suck at drawing lol (finally!)

If you can please please come out for the film screening next year!>_< some of us will have worked really hard on our films and hopefully will make you proud :) thank you for pushing all of us to do better and for being so kind, honest, and for being such a talented, respectful artist that us students can all look up to! goodbye~ ;__;

Manu Gopinath said...

Hey Scott! I cannot believe you're gone! I just heard about this yesterday! Tis a pity! I was a big fan of your class Scott! I learned a ton from you and appreciated your honesty in terms of critiques and drawing skill! As Chris said, do come to Industry Day 2013! best of luck and I'm sure we'll run into each other at some point!



Ben Lo said...

hey Scott, I'm really sorry to hear that you're leaving and not teaching any more at sheridan. But I 100% agree with your reason behind it. Like other's have said, you were one of the best teachers who I've had at Sheridan. I think my year was the first year of you taught at sheridan, so it was really lucky for us to be able to get the best out of you. I've long graduated and have been working for 3 years now. I'm still using some of the things you've taught us in class. I still vividly remember the awesome medieval swords, helms and armours you brought in to class for us. It was such a fun time back then. Anyway, I want to thank you for all the time and effort you have put on us. I wish you the best in the future, hopefully we will get to meet again some day.

sangram borse said...

scott, u are one of the most inspiring, down to earth, professional teacher i have ever had.... and i completely agree with every single point that u made in the post.. it was a great honor and privilage to learn from u..
wish u all the best with ur new job!!

thanks for everything!!

Jonathan Coit said...


Thank you for the education you provided to me both in and outside of the classroom. Being handed other layout instructors, I personally didn't get the time with you that I would have appreciated but value highly the information which I learned from you. It was nice spending some brief time with you at the CTN a few years back and you also helped tremendously with the layouts on my grad film. Fond memories.
I heard about the class-size being raised a little while ago, and it was a frustrating thought. There are far too many friends I have in the industry that struggle to find work, and to add 30-50 more people fighting for those jobs that aren't there, and they aren't qualified for.. it is just bad buisiness. I respect you choice to go with your gut and to leave with a message. Thank you for being outspoken.
Congratulations on the new job, I look forward to catching up with you in the future.

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