Ms. Crone you’re the first person to open my eyes to the delight of art, along with my brother. You opened up the box of my creativity, a creativity I didn’t even acknowledge…This experience has impacted me in a way nothing else has. Thank you for returning my creativity.
You were a good teacher and spoke to us about more than [art], but about the future.
-Art I Students, Nicholas Senn High School
I had my Art I students watch Ken Robinson’s TED Talk on How Schools Kill Creativity, then I opened the floor for discussion. More than a few students were not accustomed to genuinely being asked what they thought–especially being asked to criticize the free public education being bestowed upon them by right. Then I asked them to turn over their video worksheets and draw themselves as monsters, eliciting further eyerolls. On the surface, that day seemed like a disaster–I had given students the space to explain how and why art was boring and pointless and offering nothing of value, and when they couldn’t find the vocabulary to present an argument, their unsupported opinions erupted into further resistance. However, at the end of the day I had drawings of 150 monsters–with fangs, spots, detached eyeballs, etc. Some were cute, some were defensively ugly. Each had a personality, some were skillfully shaded, others childishly naive, and not once in the process did a student ask me if their monster was “good enough,” if they had done enough for a good grade, if it was what they were “supposed” to do.
If Art I was the last art class these students would ever take, which for most of them it would be, what did I want them to learn? I would no longer feed them my arguments as to why art class was valuable. The goal was to guide them in identifying what exactly they were looking for, what they were in need of, and within the art room provide them with opportunities to collect what they could in learning with and through the arts.
The collection of work compiled in this portfolio represents my work over the course of a two year graduate program that culminates in my receiving a Master of Arts in Teaching, and gains me entry into a profession I have been musing about since I was eleven years old. Herein this collection is documentation of my trial and error as a Choreographer of Instruction, Designer of the Learning Environment, Production Manager of the Learning Environment, Professional Educator, and in my Inquiry into My Teaching Practice. I am not yet a fully formed teacher, and recognize the teacher as a fluid state of being that must be constantly adapting and changing to meet the needs of students and shifts in education. What will remain central to my practice as an art educator is a motivation to introduce young people to things which they may not have encountered otherwise, and in ways that are sometimes unexpected, sometimes unconventional, and eventually self-directed.
Perhaps the greatest value of an art education is the arts’ inherent nature to connect, grow, and adapt in unexpected ways that leave us with much more than what we initially set out to find.