I find the visual arts so crucial in a person’s life, especially in children of all ages. So much of a child’s life is spent in the classroom, constantly absorbing knowledge such as facts, rules, and procedures. The arts are one of the few subjects that not only challenges students with factual information, but allows space for growth, self expression and concentration in their own personal uniqueness. Students can freely experiment with various mediums, techniques for application, as well as concentrate in their own self exploration in a safe and healthy environment without being judged. Creating art can be considered therapeutic on multiple levels. The visual arts creates an outlet that allows us to reflect on an individuals’ development, ability, personality, interests, concerns and conflicts, as well as dealing with emotional conflicts, developing self-awareness and social skills, managing behavior, solving problems, reducing anxiety, and improving self esteem.
My first teaching endeavor was the alternative high school that I worked at. It was a program open to students with individualized circumstances who are unable to achieve in a traditional high school setting. We gave the students hope and a second chance to complete all requirements to graduate and prepare them for college. The alternative program specifically catered to students who suffered disciplinary and emotional problems. Unfortunately the family life of some of those students was very bleak, and have been so since the child was young. This caused the student to negatively act out verbally or physically, abuse alcohol or narcotics, vandalize or silently suffer. These students needed individualized attention and guidance; sadly in most cases it's not possible in most traditional high schools. I was a part of a faculty that was able to provide a caring and nurturing atmosphere to help those students rise above adversity, and achieve many successes in their lives. There are many students all over our country suffering the same adversities as the students I have taught in my own experiences. I feel it takes a teacher with a lot of patience, motivation, leadership, courage and faith to be able to reach these students and help them realize their full potential and succeed. I am fortunate enough to have been able to help many students in my teaching career thus far and I hope to be able to continue doing so for a long time.
Being an art educator, I feel that as important as teaching the subject matter and sharing that passion, being an educator is so much more than that. Being a teacher requires knowledge in the subject matter, the ability to coherently convey that information to others, as well as also being able to listen to students without passing judgment, giving advice when asked, interacting with students on an appropriate level, become actively involved in their lives and truly care. A teacher holds not just an educator role but the role of an older sibling, a confidant, a parent, a coach, an advisor, a cheerleader, and supporter. I keep my interactions with my students outside of school hours are friendly, supportive, extending guidance and advising, encouraging, assisting with any schoolwork, but always professional and appropriate at all times. I enjoy being a spectator for school events such as plays, talent shows and sporting events. I also enjoy participating in after school activities and fundraising.
I am always looking to improve as a teacher and as a teacher of the visual arts I have several ways of doing so. I constantly keep up to date with any art related news and information, having a twitter account has helped immensely with that. I attend art exhibits and galleries, as well as submitting my own artwork to exhibits for public viewing. I attend studio art classes to not only practice my craft but to share ideas and experiences with other art students. In the future I plan on pursuing a masters degree in art therapy which I feel will benefit me exponentially in an art classroom. I also feel that as a teacher, professional development is an important tool for improving and growing as a teacher. I also like to conduct my own self reflective teacher assessment, as well as gain student input as via a written class assessment. I have also learned so much simply by conversing with other teachers and sharing experiences and strategies.