By committing to my primary objective of helping students become better artists, I also help them become better individuals. This is achieved through relationships. By making personal connections, I help them link their unique life experiences with technical skills, allowing them to broaden their conceptual art thinking.
Instruction focuses on process and execution. I help students identify the questions they need to be asking themselves to develop a technically and conceptually strong piece of art. I’ve found that students often know what they want to make, but they don’t know how it all comes together. They are trying to find their voice, and I’m there to help them find it. Through focused and unfocused conversation, I’m listening to each individual student, acting as an investigator identifying gaps in their thinking. I help the student find what is keeping them from creating a complete piece of unique expression. Each student has their own distinctive story, and has different technical and personal needs, so I make a point to listen to each individual.
Beyond the individual student, I also attend to the classroom environment. It’s important to create a space where all students feel comfortable being their unique selves. Comfort opens up fluid thinking and allows for risk taking. When students have ownership of the space, they have ownership over their work. My classroom is an inclusive, safe space where each student is empowered to be a unique artist, which then empowers them to be an extraordinary individual.
My readiness to new ideas and efficiency in absorbing new techniques allows me to continue my own growth as a lifelong learner. Beyond my classroom, collaboration between educators is essential. This requires being a leader at times, and being a team player at others, all in the service of the school, program, and individual students.