The usual teacher-teaching-students scenario has been traded for student-teaching-students in a new class offered this semester at Gannon University.
Rebecah Ford, a sophomore biology and pre-med major at Gannon, is teaching the ceramics class on Tuesday afternoons. She said it contains seven or eight students, and she enjoys teaching it.
Ford said she starts the class with a demonstration, and then lets the students take their turn at creating whatever’s on the agenda for that week.
“I guess it’s more like a ceramics workshop,” she said, “or even a club.”
Whatever labels may be put on it, though, the class is being offered for credit.
Ford said the idea for the class came from her. She said she took ceramics in high school and really enjoyed the experience, and she was looking for something to do with it at Gannon.
Lori Steadman, director of the Schuster Gallery, allowed Ford to go ahead with the project, with Ford as the teacher and Steadman as the adviser.
Ford said she started out nervous for the class, but adjusted quickly. “I’m a really social person,” she said, “and I love sharing what I’ve learned with the class.”
She said it’s taking a little time to get used to the gig. “It is a little weird being a teacher after being a student my whole life,” she said, “but I’ve always been in leadership positions.”
She said she was a drum major in high school, as well as president of her class.
Erica Paul, a junior physician assistant major, is an assistant teacher while Emily Russell, a sophomore chemistry major, helps more with tearing down and cleaning up. She said Russell occasionally helps teach, too.
Ford said she knew Russell prior to teaching the class, because they went to the same high school.
She said she did not know Paul, but she’s enjoying getting to know her and teaching together.
Ford said she is thankful to have the help of the other teachers in the classroom, particularly since this is the first time any of them has taught a class.
Russell also said she is enjoying the experience of the ceramics class.
“I like that there is a laid- back atmosphere and that there’s a varied amount of experience,” she said, “so there’s no pressure.”
Overall, Ford said she is really enjoying her experience teaching the class.
“I love helping people learn new things,” she said.