Often when interviewing for a job, the interviewer will start off by saying, “Tell me a little about yourself”. If I could read this off at the interview, it would be a good start to telling about who I am as an art teacher. Unfortunately, you only get one chance at an interview, but for those who are interested, here it is…
Being a person who has already had several careers and have 2 children of my own, I feel that I am a very well rounded person and have many beneficial skills and abilities to bring to the teaching field. I am interested in teaching art at the elementary level because I feel that it perfectly marries my prior knowledge of children’s literature with teaching children art. I was the children’s librarian at the Boone Area Library for 6 years and this experience gave me a direct understanding of children’s literature, as well as the importance of exposing children to books and reading at an early age. In addition, I know of the amazing artwork that is present in children’s books and have already designed hundreds of lessons in the story times I presented around hundreds of children’s books. I would be able to use this experience to create art lessons for the children at the elementary school level that could include children’s literature. I am acutely aware of how important reading is in any school and I understand that part of the mission of many schools is to empower students to become lifelong learners through effective instructional strategies. I believe that art is a perfect area to show students that learning happens everywhere and it is an ideal subject for combining the skills of all disciplines to help lead students to success.
I also love to teach older students as well. Currently I am teaching many grades, and grades 6-8 have proved to often be the most rewarding. These students know their skills and are ready to explore their own unique personalities and identities. It is wonderful to watch these students as they express their inner selves while learning new techniques and using new materials.
I am also very interested in promoting the arts within the school and in working collaboratively with other teachers and parents to create a feeling of community. The arts are often an under-appreciated area of education. I am interested in highlighting student artwork through internet resources such as blogging sites and online galleries. I have already begun blogging about my clinical teaching experiences and have begun showcasing student art work on my blog sites. I plan on continuing this as I feel that when students and their families see their art work displayed it creates pride in the students and advocates the schools programs. It is beneficial all around to everyone involved.
As I hinted at above, I strongly believe in making interdisciplinary connections in my lessons. I feel that art is the ideal area to do this because art touches all aspects of life. Whenever and wherever I can, I try to show students connections between math and art, science and art, history and art and so on. In fact, many of the lessons you will find on my site draw these kinds of connections.
I also know through my experience as a mother of two children, my experience working as a children’s librarian and through my clinical experiences that no 2 children are the same. No two children learn in the same manner. It is one of my highest priorities to teach my lessons using differentiated teaching methods. A very simple example of something I have done to differentiate teaching in a previous lesson occurred while I was teaching a lesson on architecture. My students were making geodesic domes and also designing the covering to put on the outside of the domes. I demonstrated a technique of cutting out interior shapes using an Exacto knife. There was a student in one of my classes who had very low vision and could not use an Exacto knife. When I realized this, and when he expressed an interest in making a covering that had shapes cut out of the interior, I demonstrated to him a different method of cutting using scissors and folding the paper.
I typically work differentiated teaching methods into my lessons naturally. Usually, I create worksheets that verbally and visually explain what the project is and how to complete the different steps. These are handed out to the students to reference throughout the process. In addition, I provide many demonstrations where the students can watch me work through each step. Some students need to see something done first hand in order to understand the process. In addition, I always will work one on one with students, explaining things in a different way if they are having difficulty. I am dedicated to each and every student, and truly believe that every student can learn.