I entered EDUC 350 a little unsure if being a teacher was really what I wanted to do. There were a lot of ups and downs but I can leave this experience knowing what I want to do in my life. There were some things that left me discouraged about teaching. My first lesson did not go that well; I was unprepared, unsure of what I was teaching, the students didn’t really want to listen to what I was saying, and it was overall just a bit of a mess. I watched as students didn’t really want to do art, and as an artist myself I don’t really understand how you could not want to do art. But with these moments of frustration I absolutely love working with students.
I sat in on an eighth grade class taught by Tanya Miller. I absolutely loved watching Tanya teach the students. She had created a very laid back atmosphere that the students looked forward to coming to. The majority of the class was spent allowing students to work.
When I sat in on art club after school I saw just how excited these kids were to be artists. They couldn’t wait to make casts of their hands and they were just eager to learn. In the eighth grade class I observed in there were kids who were always eager and some that could care less. I think one of the first moments that stuck out to me was: Justin was a boy who always sat in the back of the class and clearly did not want to be in art class at all. He never did his work one day I sat next to him and asked him what he likes to do and he responded with telling me about the football team he is on. I gave him some ideas of how he could tie the project into football and he actually became excited about it. For the rest of the semester he did every project relating to football but he actually seemed to start liking art.
Another pivotal moment for me was when I taught my 45 minute lesson. Perhaps it was because I was teaching on something that I am passionate about but I couldn’t have imagined my lesson going better. I created a power point that the students could use on their iPads and could work with a partner. The class was excited about the lesson and actually listened to me when I was presenting them with information. The most significant moment of the class was watching students get excited about what I had to teach them.
Throughout the semester I got to work with the students individually based on their need. Levi was the first student who really asked me for help. While working on perspective he was not afraid to ask me how to draw certain parts of a building; he was just eager to learn. More and more students became comfortable with asking me for help and seeing the light bulb go off in their head is the most rewarding experience.
Also near and dear to my heart were the five special needs kids who got to join the class. They can easily be overlooked for their artistic ability but are extremely talented. One day, when working on abstract expressionism a boy with Down’s syndrome and autism completely soared above the rest. His face lit up as he painted. This reminded me of not only why I am an artist but why I want to be a teacher. Art does not care about race, gender, sexual orientation, mental or physical disabilities. Anyone can be an artist and when I become a teacher I can help students understand this.
Outside of classroom experience I learned a significant amount from Kendra. I fell in love with the book Teach Like a Champion and it offered me a lot of techniques to teach in the future. I am so incredibly grateful for Kendra and Tanya because I had an incredible experience not only learning how to be a teacher but also getting to work with the students. The class I got to observe was 36 brilliant students who each brought something unique to the class; I have grown to love the students and I am sad this semester has come to an end.