Friday, February 25, 2011

January 23, 2011-- Artist vs. Teacher (written by artist/teacher Kelly Coombs)

The following is a blog entry written by another fellow artist as teacher. It hits home with me and reminds me of the wonderful school systems I have either worked directly or indirectly with through my experience with the arts as an artist professional. I will be writing more about this in a comment directly below this blod!

As artists, we have all been injected with a large dose of creativity and innovation-- whether we like it or not. In the classroom, these skills are helpful as we try to stay afloat in the sea of information-hungry students. We're curious, hardworking, and imaginative as well... More characteristics of an artist, that when coupled with the love of teaching, create a well-crafted art teacher. Patience also seems to be a big factor in the art room, especially when working with younger students. As artists, we're often used to working on projects for days and weeks at a time.. something that requires a lot of patience on our part. Bringing this particular skill into the classroom is one that will be a big help when first beginning to teach. Bringing our own art into our future classrooms is also a helpful way to blend the line between artist and teacher. Becoming a teacher doesn't mean we are no longer an artist or no longer have time to create work-- in fact, it should be the opposite. An art teacher can't be a teacher without first being an artist, and can't be an artist without some sort of teaching. The two, which go hand in hand within the art room, are important to see separately as well as together as one. As a teacher, continuing to create art is necessary if you're going to be teaching others about art. Setting aside weekly time to create art, sketch, brainstorm project ideas, etc. will help keep the juices flowing in the "art" half of our brains. Continuing to be creative and innovative will give life and power to the things we teach in the classroom.

Vieth starts by separating the two-- artist and teacher. By looking at the two roles separately, Vieth looks at significant qualities of each before examining the role of "art teacher" and performing the acts in tandem. Both artists and teachers have the opportunity to share knowledge and skills, as well as enthusiasm for their field. But when combined, this opportunity becomes even greater and the art teacher is able to be a leader to students. As art teachers, Vieth says we need to be actively involved in producing art. This way, we'll continue to maintain perspective and self esteem as an artist, before passing these traits on and teaching students to be artists as well. Without practicing our own set of skills, we will have no fine-tuned skills to teach our students. Like the example Vieth gives, by participating in the same projects assigned to our students, we will not only put ourselves on the same level as them, but also maintain our own set of skills and techniques. This is also another way to balance teaching technique with creativity-- demonstrating and showing students specific techniques, as well as using your own ideas and innovation to teach creativity. It will also be impossible to avoid "road bumps" along the way, but these teachable moments will allow us to respond to and challenge students in unexpected ways.

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