As a student, I witnessed that not many students excelled in/cared about/wanted to pursue a career in art. Oh, they enjoyed the projects for the most part, and did their best in class, but for most students art was an ‘easy credit’. As someone who plans to teach art, that’s pretty much the definition of unacceptable to me. I’m under no illusions that my classes will produce hundreds of little artistic geniuses, but my hope is that I can make art more than an easy path to graduation for my students.
I believe that learning art is like learning a universal language: it can help you communicate with just about anyone. I personally follow the work of artists from America, Brazil, Russia, Korea, Denmark, Japan, India, Switzerland, and a hundred other places – painters, digital artists, sketch artists, photographers, fashion designers, comic artists, storybook illustrators – you name it. The internet is instrumental in this, of course, but the fact remains that the common language there is ART. And that is one h*** of a beautiful language. I don’t think there is anything better than being able to teach that language to children.
Because of that, I essentially have only two simple goals as a teacher.
1. I want my students to be better artists when they leave my class than when they started.
2. I want my students to feel that art, in whatever form they desire, can be a part of their lives even if they don’t pursue it as a career.
So here’s the part where this is relevant to you: most people become teachers because a) they love their subject, and/or b) they love and want to help kids. But we talk about why we want to teach in general all the time. My question for you people out there is: why do you think it’s important to teach the specific subjects you intend to teach? Why did you choose your major/minor? Why do you feel it’s important to contribute that knowledge to your students’ future lives?
Why do you, or will you, matter as a teacher?