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Teaching Philosophy (shortened version)

While many studio art instructors say that their students are important to them, anyone familiar with my career would agree that student learning, success, and overall satisfaction are imperative to me. Being a mentor to students allows me to gain their trust while earning their respect. Experiencing the art world through my eyes and their own allows them to build upon the foundations we lay together. An artist is someone who communicates, therefore it is my responsibility to help students develop their voice and vision in any and every way possible. Giving students a firm, education in the foundations of studio art will enable them to find themselves through creating visually interesting and intelligently informed art works. Strong craftsmanship, compositional skills, technical skills, conceptually motivated works, and an overall emphasis on content are integral to successfully sculpting any student into an artist.

As a whole, I approach teaching with the consideration of the potential long-term impact on students in mind. I feel that learning is an active practice of the accumulation and construction of knowledge. I keep that in mind while teaching by always being patient and never giving up on reaching students. When learning studio art, coordination and skill do not always develop right away and even the most skilled artists can improve upon their work. I design my courses and schedule my lessons so that students can build upon the knowledge and skills they gained on previous assignments while learning new objectives on current projects. This method allows their skills and confidence to grow due to relative familiarity while also continually pushing their accumulation of new skills, knowledge, techniques, and approaches to art making.

In my undergraduate studies I initially majored in Art Education for several years. Through those studies as well as my experiences as an art educator, I have learned that everyone acquires, processes, and translates information differently. As a result, I consistently look for and utilize a variety of ways to approach my teaching, approaches to course development, and ways of relating to my students. Hands on demonstrations as a class and on an individual basis, detailed instructions for projects, visual aids such as examples of similar projects, and PowerPoint presentations are some of the many means I utilize to educate my students. My educational choices are aimed at developing the skills, craftsmanship, work habits, and approaches necessary for students to succeed after they finish their academic pursuits. Encouraging the studying of and engagement in various art related activities such as lectures, readings, research, visiting art studios, as well as viewing and participating in exhibitions.

Instilling a good work ethic in their approach to art making allows me to further nurture student’s potential to develop life-long learning habits and a strong desire for the creation and study of art. I do this by encouraging them to think critically, observe and record the world around them, create quality art works that communicate meaning, and devote time to making and learning about art. Without those things, it is difficult to imagine someone will develop an interest or passion that will last a lifetime.

I believe that if someone is taught correctly, encouraged properly, and has a passionate, considerate instructor their passion towards creating can be fostered and ignited into a perpetual flame. I strive to walk the fine line between being a hands-on instructor and the kind of instructor that allows their students to develop their own problem solving skills. I do this while students are working on their projects by giving hints, tips, and sincere encouragement while also giving them space to be creative and figure things out on their own.  Problem solving leads to confidence and self-sustainability (now and in the future). The result of that balance is students with bolstered creativity and confidence.