Art is a subject that can resonate with people of all ages and backgrounds, because making and creating serve as an expressive outlet that can foster change. As an educator it is my goal to facilitate meaningful learning by encouraging, questioning, and engaging my students. Art education is important to the future of society as a whole, as Maxine Greene says, “my concern is to enable diverse persons to break through the cotton wool of daily life and to live more consciously” (Greene, 1977). I am concerned with both teaching a meaningful subject and changing the lives of those who will change our future.
The right to a meaningful and sound public education is something that I believe every single child deserves. Inclusion is very important in my classroom. There are limitations and boundaries that everyone brings to the table, however in the right environment any student can grow and reach their true potential. The right environment is safe and understanding, and that is the foundation of my classroom. As Dr. Nancy Lampert says, “kindness is what I argue is needed in the culture of an art classroom before students can feel it’s safe for them to engage in artwork that is creative and meaningful” (Lampert, 2011). Every student deserves to feel safe and cared for while in the school environment. I believe in creating a safe, kind, and accepting classroom for all students.
In my classroom, learners have agency and accountability. I believe that students should be encouraged to engage with me as the teacher and with one another to get the most out of their public education. Personal experiences are a large part of my teaching and the students' learning in my teaching environment. It is my belief that the students are responsible for creating the rules of learning in my classroom. Students must take charge of their education and it is my job as the educator to guide them in all their endeavors and experiences.
As an art educator I am responsible for the future of many students, but also our society as a whole. I will facilitate thoughtful thinking and making in my classroom as often as possible. I will encourage students to question what they see and hear and to critically analyze and engage with the information they are involved with. It is also my responsibility as a teacher to engage with other members of the school. I believe positive changes are important and happen when people work together to make improvements that benefit everyone. I believe in the importance of incorporating other disciplines in my students' art making. I also am committed to being an active member of the art community. In order to teach students I must be engaged with the art around me so I can bring that world into my classroom.
I teach using the big idea model. This means my units are concept oriented with skill building worked in. I have high expectations of my students and firmly believe in establishing them early and keeping them high. I incorporate work from local and contemporary artists of different backgrounds and cultures to show students that I value their differences. I teach to the standards set forth by the National Art Content Standards and statewide standards.
In my classroom the students are the masters of their learning. I will guide them as they critically engage with every piece of information they are given to foster their growth as artists and people. It is my goal to help my students become proud and skilled artists as well as kind members of our society. Art is so important to me and as a teacher I will convey that importance to my students.