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Teaching Photoshop in Secondary schools.

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by hudsonfreddie, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. hudsonfreddie

    hudsonfreddie New commenter


    My name is Freddie Hudson - a 17 year old art A level and business A level student just finishing my first year of sixth form. I'm a self-taught artist in the Adobe programs such as Photoshop, Lightroom, After effects and Premiere Pro. I have my own instagram with some of my work @freddievisuals

    This time next year when I finish education I wish to be in a position where I'm a freelance teacher, teaching secondary schools primarily Photoshop. As part of my EPQ and my future carrer - I wish to start such business where I can be that freelance teacher - I want to push more digital art into the minds of students rather than traiditonal (both my secondary school and sixth form teachers have little knowledge of any Adobe programs). I would appreciate it so much if any of you could answer these questions:

    • Would you even be interested in getting someone to teach students Photoshop?
    • How would I go about contacting schools if they were interested in my service?
    • What would be the best way to book me - through website? 1-1 meeting and arrange dates that way?

    I am currently trying to contact my school and do some free/practice teaching before term ends so hopefully I can do some work next academic year I do have a website but today the plan ran out - however I got a job last week so I can fund for the website and will be back up running in the next month.

    If you were to book me through a website - what features would you want to be included (such as a course plan etc)

    Any replies back would be heavily appreciated!

  2. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Where would you expect the schools to get the money from? I doubt it would come out of the art department budget.

    Are you in an area where there is much in the way of adult/community education? Evening classes on photoshop might be more of a runner.

    If you're going to teach specific products, are you going to get yourself Adobe accreditation to do so?
    phlogiston and hudsonfreddie like this.
  3. averagedan

    averagedan Established commenter

    Not to be negative but I've have a few things for you to think about...…

    From your post I'm not sure what you're offering that we can't already do ourselves? We employ several ICT and art teachers who are competent with various computer graphics applications. Maybe you need a portfolio/example workshops to illustrate what value you're adding.

    There are also funding shortages at most schools - what's your unique selling point to justify the cost?

    Most schools are using versions of photoshop that are years out of date due to licensing agreements, in fact the 2007 MX version is the most common- how are you going to get around this?

    Just because your school had teachers who weren't competent with Photoshop doesn't mean that all schools are - in fact I've found the opposite.
    hudsonfreddie likes this.
  4. varcolac

    varcolac Occasional commenter

    No, we have IT, Art and Photography teachers for that.
    There are no systems in place at any school I've worked in for this "freelance teacher" role you seem set on achieving.
    Sorry to rain on your parade but education doesn't work like this. Most people with the job description of "teacher" have a degree and Qualified Teacher Status. Schools have very tight budgets and given we've had to cut teaching assistants, pastoral support and even entire subjects from our school this academic year I don't think there's money for an eighteen-year-old freelancer to come in and show students how to Photoshop. To be honest, I find it hard to believe that any school would employ someone barely out of Sixth Form to teach anything. Reassess your planned career trajectory: I'm not sure the role you're aiming for even exists.
    hudsonfreddie likes this.
  5. hudsonfreddie

    hudsonfreddie New commenter

    I have no clue where they would get the money from - it could come from pupils (We had someone similar come into school and teach us 3 tone portraits, where the school charged each pupil taking part £15) however, if a school / HOD really do want the service I'm sure it could come out of the art department budget? I'm no expert on this at all it's all just a guess - I'll ask this to the business manager from my old secondary school, thanks!

    I was thinking of doing evening classes but as more of a branching out once I'm settled into teaching into secondary schools - I'm only talking about my experience and others' who I know but there's a lack of digital art teaching and mainly the only traditional arts. I will look further into this though

    The plan is to create different courses in which schools can choose / either make a query on a custom one. I highly doubt I could get Adobe accreditation since there are so many Photoshop tutorials online which do not either (online market for this is too saturated hence why I wish to teach in schools rather than online).
  6. hudsonfreddie

    hudsonfreddie New commenter

    This whole thing isn't targetted for schools which already have teachers that have the advanced knowledge of photoshop - it's really only aimed at schools where they don't - both my secondary school and college don't have this knowledge (that's why I'm currently all self-taught)

    I am at the moment in contact with my secondary school and doing free sessions with them - to try and get reviews out of them and also word of mouth promotion to other schools who would be interested (I do understand some schools already have this kind of knowledge)

    My unique selling point is the quality of the service and the fact I'm not just a one time teacher - I would want each school to be a repeat customer - I'd be doing this by:
    • Having a facebook group where after each class, students can join and interact with one another with weekly Q&As, regular help if they have any specific questions + some livestreams showing how I create anything I make on instagram / small techiniques.
    • Schools can have custom courses too - so they can decide what they want to know
    • Hopefully in the future if it does go to plan I'll invest in my own equipment / laptops so schools don't need to worry about providing anything
    This was one of the things that I knew would be a weakness - what if a school didn't even have photoshop in the first place? I'm most likely going to be taking a risk and paying for around 20-30 Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom creative cloud accounts - I have no clue how easy it is for IT to install photoshop onto their computers but I'm asking that to the IT department at my secodary school.

    And I'm glad you''ve said that since I honestly have had no clue, I'm going to start teaching and getting reviews and hopefully word of mouth from my secondary school and see where it goes from there - some schools may be the same as mine too however and would be interested - not completely discarding what you've said though.
  7. hudsonfreddie

    hudsonfreddie New commenter

    That's great - where about's is your demographic? And also are there other schools around your area which are the same as you too? If you don't mind me asking which reigion? Would be good to create a map of where to target this.

    In my secondary school and college we tend to have a lot of freelance teachers come in and do some specialised work - for example in my secondary school we had someone called John Denaro who taught us to do 3 tone portratis to high quality - he's been doing that for years now.

    No it's fine I'm happy with all feedback! I had an interview with John the other week because I was unsure where to start with it - but he didn't need any teaching degree or qualification - him teaching in schools just happened for him - he was only an art student.

    I do understand money is very tight - I have no clue how tight it is however there could be ways around it - as I mentioned before maybe schools decide and split the cost between pupils

    Agreed schools would find it sketchy and could be put off by age but you have to start somewhere right? At the moment I'm doing small practices and trying to get reviews out of it first. Schools can trust another schools word better than they can trust mine easily. Word of mouth is my best chance.

    I do understand what you're saying however and I really appriciate the feedback!
  8. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    Gimp is better, free and easy to teach yourself.
    hudsonfreddie likes this.
  9. neddyfonk

    neddyfonk Lead commenter

    Trying to sell yourself to schools is a very tedious business. You need to meet their criteria for what they want. Your USP needs to fit the needs of the curriculum. Actually teaching without a qualification sets a dangerous precedent for most schools unless you volunteer your time for an after school club. If there was an art/photography equivalent of the STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Maths) ambassador you find doors open - but it is still unpaid. Not sure if colleges might find you interesting for 'night school', not sure where they source experts in cake decorating / floral arrangements etc.
    I knew a lab tech that migrated to IT support who was a whizz at light rendering / 3d modelling who got lots of acclaim for a starship he designed / rendered, but never managed to turn his hobby into a job.
    May the force be with you .....
    hudsonfreddie likes this.
  10. SundaeTrifle

    SundaeTrifle Occasional commenter

    Since you are young and artistic then go for a career in computer art. I see lots of employers advertising for designer. You will need additional technical ability, say programming and web development, although you could go for social media and marketing.
    hudsonfreddie likes this.
  11. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    Firstly, i think it is great you're exploring this idea. A couple of thoughts I had -
    Start by looking at the national curriculum and schemes of work for the relevant exam boards. Does anything you are offering tie in with these? If not you'll limit yourself with the number of schools who would be interested.

    You will need to have an enhanced DBS check if you want to increase your opportunities of working in schools, so will need to consider how this will be done.

    John was lucky, in that when he started out in 1992 the education landscape was rather different. It would have been easier for him to get into a school and establish himself. Yes he proves the opportunity exists, but you're going to have to do it slightly differently to him. For example a quick search shows there are multiple companies, such as The School of Photography who offer schools and colleges photoshop workshops. What is it about you that makes you better than those? You seem to have ruled out Adobe accreditation which you may want to reconsider.

    Many schools won't have photoshop as it is expensive. In some schools it will be relatively easy to get the software installed, but it can also be a problem and could take someone a long time to get around to doing it (or just say they won't). On top of this have you considered how you are going to manage the licences and users logins?

    being able to do something well and being able to teach something well are two different things. Be clear exactly what you are teaching and what does the progression in skills look like. As someone mentioned GIMP is free, so you should be able to teach the skills through that, which would help with the problem above. Use your college lecturers as a critical friend and try and teach them.

    Finally, what is your plan B? Have you looked at apprenticeships or level 5/6 courses you could do whilst establishing your business whilst at the same time improving your knowledge and skills?

    Good luck!
    hudsonfreddie likes this.
  12. hudsonfreddie

    hudsonfreddie New commenter

    Okay I'll look into gimp - thank you!
  13. hudsonfreddie

    hudsonfreddie New commenter

    I do understand how hard it is going to be, I am slightly relying on word of mouth through schools that already know me (still doing pracise lessons in my college) but trying to get a trial lesson done at my secondary school but hopefully if I give up my time and show what I can do, more people may know about me.

    Agreed that what I do should fit the curriculum. I wasn't focusing on the photography GCSE to be honest, mainly schools who take the Fine Art course - I understand schools that take photography already have teachers with knowledge in that area (no clue how advanced their knowledge is though). At the end of the day, I want to teach pupils skills on Photoshop and Lightroom (+ photography knowledge) that can be used in so many different ways and can also be carried onto A level if they take it.

    I do understand no qualification raises a red flag - but that's why I am relying on word of mouth as of now, this time next year I should have A level qualifications.

    I will look more into after school / night school or even just do 1-1 sessions with students if they're really interested in learning photoshop - may be the way where I have to start who knows?

    And thank you, I do realise how much effort and perseverance it will take.

    Once again, thanks for the response!
  14. hudsonfreddie

    hudsonfreddie New commenter

    I was looking into graphic designer as a carrer last year - to be honest with you, I don't enjoy it. It does sound weird but I do enjoy the freedom I get if I am just a sole trader. I could develop my business into freelancing somewhere else in the digital art industry, true - I may start looking into it if this business idea currently doesn't work
  15. hudsonfreddie

    hudsonfreddie New commenter

    The plan as I said above was to target the Fine Art exam board as that's the one I know off by heart, admittedly I don't know any of the other exam boards well - I will definiately do this today and see what I can provide to each exam board (could do courses specific to each exam board?)

    I never knew about a DBS check until now so thanks for this!

    True, John did get lucky espeically as it wasn't what he was expected to be doing at all - but I do see that opportunity as you say and I know how I'm going to get around to schools will be different - I think I know I need to be no more talk and actually do something about it - I'll make mistakes and learn what's best from that.

    What's going to make me better than those sort of companies - is that they're a company. I wish to create more of a following in a way rather than just money - I'm in this because I love what I do and I want to give back what I know - monetising that would be the best thing ever. As I said before after classes, students can join my facebook group - interact with one another and I'll always be interacting too, mentoring them so to speak. I wish to keep students / schools loyal to me once I've taught them once - someone they essentially look up to if that makes any sense?

    Now that another person has said it too, I'll look into the Adobe accreditation - do you know how I can get this? And with the licensing - we have options:
    - I pay for 15 accounts (2 computers per user) - Logins will be managed by me and I'll have to put up with doing tedious management with passwords after every lesson
    -The school does the 7 day free trial (could be worth it then if they want to push more photoshop into the school then they can buy it)
    - I somehow do some magic and try to create some ambassador for Adobe where I promote their product whilst teaching (they'll give me 15 accounts) - also something good to put when advertising myself

    I could use GIMP too - I have never really used it in 3/4 years so I could teach myself that.

    Plan B is: Do a GAP year and try to push the business further - trying to contact more people can get in the community more. Then if it works out - I will carry on with the business, else I'll go to university and most likely study film (wish to go into film later on in my life)

    Plan C is: Go to university starting 2020 september studying film whilst trying to push the business but will obviosuly have less time spent on it.

    Thanks so much for the response - I've learnt a lot from it!
  16. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    To add you may also want to look at doing safeguarding training. Interacting online with students you teach can put you in a vulnerable position.

    Adobe training is listed on their website - https://learning.adobe.com/partner-finder.html?country=United Kingdom
    Many university courses (as you may go there) also offer free training and exams for their students.

    The reason I mention GIMP is you should be teaching particular skills and knowledge related to digital arts, not how to do things in Photoshop (which may not even exist in the same form/or at all in 10 years time).
    hudsonfreddie likes this.
  17. hudsonfreddie

    hudsonfreddie New commenter

    Okay I've noted that down too thank you!

    Thanks for link as well - massive help.

    I understand what you mean - in my course I was going to include how to understand the concept of blending images together through lighting etc and the some of the theory behind it - of course I would then show how to put that theory into practise but now you mention it - it may not be aorund in 10 or so years time. I'll look into this aswell thanks!
  18. OneLooseCrank

    OneLooseCrank Occasional commenter

    I have a few observations for you.
    Firstly, I think you've responded positively and politely to many responses that, in their own words, are raining on your parade. I think this is a real quality in you that will help with your employability.
    Secondly, You don't need to be safeguard checked (used to be called DBS) because there will always be a teacher with your if you are coming in as freelance.
    Thirdly, schools do employ freelancers from time to time, from life-drawing models, to glass experts, visiting authors... You just need to hope that schools will see the benefit of your service.
    … Our school has a budget for 'whole school' activities, and your fee needn't come out of a departmental budget.
    … Expand the impact of your training to include SMSC, values of resilience, be more than just a digital designer.
    Finally, you're going to find it hard to get started so make contact with a school and someone there who has ownership over cross-curricular activities. Tell them about your service and offer a pro-bono day from which you can obtain photos, references and reviews. Use these to promote your service and show prospective clients what you do and importantly the students' level of attainment.
    … second finally, read up on GDPR.
    hudsonfreddie likes this.

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