Teaching as a Way of Life
Teaching provides an outlet for me to give. I see teaching as a form of gift giving. However, the students give back sevenfold! Each day, I am amazed by their growth, kindness, compassion, and generosity.
One of the reasons I want to teach is a selfish one: I know from experience that if you teach something, you have a chance to know the subject matter five time better than otherwise. This approach would benefit my students as well. If I in turn give them opportunities to teach through jigsaw activities, they would become experts with any topics at hand. I also teach because I have a genuine love for art and art making. Any of my students will testify to this, “Ms. Lee loves art!”
Teaching is a journey. Here are some of my goals and aspirations along the way: I will belong to professional organizations like the Art of Education, so that I could collaborate with like-minded individuals. I will participate in art education and technology conferences so that I could better interconnect art with other subjects. I will continue to be a practicing artist and illustrator so that I could be a living example for my students to follow their dreams.
Learning and teaching go hand-in-hand. Teaching helps me to make sense of the world around me and reciprocate to others who were in my shoes. I would not be where I am today without the teachers in my life. They gave without expecting anything in return. By being humble and be open to others’ suggestions, I aspire to become the mentors and teachers in my life. I will manage my classroom by setting forth one rule: To be respectful and to show compassion to one another especially when it is difficult to do so. By setting a good example for my students, I believe that students will follow and reciprocate to everyone in the class.
Having been a quiet person all my life, I understand what it takes to speak up. I will use Steve Kagen’s strategies of collaborative learning. Though it is challenging to speak in a big group setting, I believe some of my quieter students will benefit from small group work. As a visual thinker, I will use my strength to explain, teach, and communicate with diagrams, drawings, and other visual aides. At the same time, I will be sensitive towards my students’ strengths and multiple intelligence traits, so that I could engage them with a given lesson at hand. My beliefs best align with experiential learning, because of my practice and experience with design thinking. I will set-up my class so that my assignments are project-based. Students could test out their ideas/designs and modify them based on feedback from others and from me.
I plan to do a combination of group work, personal projects, interjected with technology. Students who love technology might stumble into my art class and discover that they like it. Instead of teaching only traditional media, I would incorporate new technology like 3D printing as an alternative way of art making. Knowing that my curriculum and lesson plans are never going to be perfect, I will test them out each semester and modify it through experience and feedback. That way, students will see that I practice what I preach by applying the design process within my teaching methods as well.
My basic goal for my students are that they will have competency over the content standards. In addition, I would like each of them to have a genuine appreciation for art and the art making process. Even though not everyone will become visual artists, I hope that they will use the creative skill sets they acquired in my class and apply them within their respective disciplines. I will know that my students are on their way to mastery when they love what they do, taking time outside of class to keep on creating and making.
The type of assessment I would mostly use is project based assessment. Students will be graded by myself and their peers based on a rubric. The assignments will be a variety of short papers, personal projects, and group presentations. I believe collaboration is crucial preparation for the real world and that students learn as much from each other as they do from me.
Professional development will always be part of the fabric of my life as an educator. I will attend conferences that are related and connected with the visual arts to observe best practices. I will test out what I learn and seek feedback from my colleagues, administrators, and the parents of my students. Through self-reflection and input from others, I will gauge my progress towards effective teaching which is a lifelong process. I will also know that my teaching is effective through the progress of my students, their attitude towards learning new things, and most importantly, my students’ evaluation/input.
As an avid swimmer and runner, my discipline in training carries into my work ethic. For me, art does not stop at the door of my classroom or the walls of my studio. It is important to me that art is interconnected and consistent with all areas of my life.