I believe that art is the heart and soul of the world we live in. We would not be driving a car, living in houses, wearing clothes, eating with utensils, drinking with glasses or enjoying everyday life if not for an artist. Whether it is an engineer, an architect, a fashion designer, a car designer; they all needed to draw their plans at some point, basically they all needed…art. My goal as an art teacher is to empower my students to be in touch with the world around them. Creativity and ingenuity have always been indispensable to the American success story. And it is my job as a teacher to encourage students to become well- rounded individuals equipped for the 21st century.
Growing up I was an awkward kid, I stuttered and had several learning disabilities, I was often bullied because of it. When things became rough at school, I would go home and escape reality by immersing myself in my sketchbook. Art became a safe haven for me, in and out of school. After high school, I worked for many years as a freelance artist, and in the corporate and non-profit sector as a graphic designer. It wouldn’t be until several years later, when my daughter began elementary school, that I discovered what I wanted to do. At the time, I was volunteering in her school with the art teacher. I felt that I belonged once again, at that moment I realized I wanted to be an art teacher.
I look at the world like this; the world isn’t a cookie cutter machine, it’s not black and white. It’s full of colors and I believe we need to teach our children how to see all the colors in the world. To help students see all the colors, I usually differentiate my instruction in several ways; by offering the students the opportunity, at times, to choose their own curriculum; by offering them choices it allows them to express and communicate their ideas that are personally meaningful to them. I always use technology in the classroom, Prezi’s to help explain a lesson, then a demonstration, followed by critiques and assessments that tap into their learning style preferences and skill level.
I am a proponent of introducing my students to a variety of cultural perspectives. I will show my students that art is everywhere, it is not taught in isolation, rather it is infused in just about everything we see. I include art history’s and teach my students how to observe, describe and evaluate works of art; giving practice to visual and reading literacy.
Today art forms are morphing and merging, to be relevant in the 21st century our current students need to become well-rounded individuals who can independently express themselves, be agile thinkers, fearless and flexible. Art education should be a learning environment where one can conceptualize one’s self in relation to the world. The arts teach children that there are multiple solutions to any one problem thereby encouraging them to build meaning in a variety of ways.
Art not only teaches flexibility but risk-taking and problem-solving that are needed in today’s complex world. With this in mind, my classes will be using not only the principles of design but also a scientific method that forces students to observe, hypothesis, experiment, analyze and modify in order to create a finished product.