It’s Ok to not be a maker

People have happily informed me that I am a maker because I use phrases like “design learning experiences,” which is mistaking what I do (teaching) for what I’m actually trying to help elicit (learning). To characterize what I do as “making” is to mistake the methods—courses, workshops, editorials—for the effects. Or, worse, if you say that I “make” other people, you are diminishing their agency and role in sense-making, as if their learning is something I do to them.

Why I’m not a maker? – Debbie Chachra

I was kind of shocked when I first saw this paragraph, that the author frankly admitted that she is not a maker. But after reading through the last sentence of the quote, I totally understood what she was saying: why an educator is not a maker. And it is totally fine to not be a maker and still be important.

In my past experiences as a student, I am always grateful for meeting some very good teachers that are patient, nice, and most importantly, intrigues student’s learning interests on the subject. I used to have a Chinese teacher in 7th grade, and I loved taking her class so much. She has such a magic that she gradually made someone who didn’t raise hand in class before raising his hand to answer questions. As I was thinking back about what makes her a good educator, I strongly resonate with the sentence that “learning is not something that the educator do to them”. My Chinese teacher didn’t “make” them raise their hands, instead, she was an influencer and motivated them from inside to encourage them to participate in class. Even though an educator is not a maker, it is still pretty important for them to exist. And it is totally fine not being a maker. Not everyone’s job is to be a maker, and the existence of other roles are also necessary, just like my Chinese teacher who influenced me so much.

In terms of what areas of Digital(Art&) Humanity I am most eager to pursue this term, I would choose 3D modeling and level designing in Unity or Unreal Engine. To echo this blog, I would bring in another teacher I had in high school. I took a Virtual Reality class with him and he introduced Unreal Engine 4 to our class. We made a landscape with a small house using premade assets, and we were able to look at it in VR. I later got an opportunity to intern in a VR company and make more level designs during the summer after I graduated from high school. But after going to college, I never had a chance to investigate more and work more on gaming engines, so hopefully I can work more on designing levels and work more on 3D design this term.

Nina Sun


  1. Hi Nina, I really enjoyed your blog. I can totally resonate with your experience with being inspired by an awesome teacher. It reminds me of my chemistry teacher in middle school who left an impact on me so huge that I declared chemistry major at Carleton. This is another example of the important of “caregiver” in an individual’s life trajectory. It is not only ok to be a caregiver but also remarkable to be a caregiver.

  2. This is a great quote and provoked some philosophical thoughts. It is wild how focused our society is on “making” and contributing to the capitalist society, and in doing so, the purpose of the things we “make” is often overlooked. In most cases, the things we make are intended to aid others- software developers make products for the purpose of supplying a need to a consumer in the same way that teachers produce a classroom environment that best conveys the course material for students.
    In a sense, the things we make are meant to be given- as is the case with teachers. So perhaps we should think of ourselves as “givers”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.