Throughout the span of this semester I’ve come to a place of confidence in my teaching that I did not have before taking this course. Coming into this semester I had studied a significant amount of material on teaching, but until you actively participate into a classroom you can’t know how to truly experience the art of teaching. To say the least: I was nervous. Teaching children within the k-12 age group was frightening enough for me, but adding in a special populations element only added to my intimidation. However, I am proud to say how far I personally feel I’ve come as an educator over the past few months.
Although the program had changed direction from it’s usual schedule and it was felt by the students, I am happy overall with the path we chose to take as a class. With there only being two of us in the class we chose to each teach an age group with the other as a classroom assistant and I think that because of that I was given more overall learning opportunities. Having the opportunity to witness some tricks of the trade and teaching strategies from a classmate who is also a full time educator assisted me in pushing myself to be better when my turn for leading the class came around. I feel that without having the experience of assisting my fellow classmate my teaching would have been lacking in multiple facets.
When it came my turn to lead a classroom I was faced with my own challenges: shortened schedules, an uncertain amount of students, city events that effected attendance and parking, missing artwork, and changing of lesson plans. The beauty in some of the chaos though is that I learned that lesson planning is just that: a plan. Having the flexibility to be able to adapt to the uncertainty surrounding teaching children is a strength that teachers require, especially art teachers.
I also have to admit that I gave into the poor advise from my peers who had taken this course previously and was slightly worried about doing a printmaking assignment with such a young, diverse, and eager group of students. I was told that this group of kids was wild and unruly and painting with them would never be an option. In the end, of course, every scary story was fortunately untrue and although I didn’t get to work with my group of students for an extended period of time, I think we created some great work in the short amount of time we had together. Despite their first round of collages being accidently thrown away by circumstances out of our control, this great group of artists embraced their practice week and created even better collages than they had their first try. Each student worked hard to make their collage exactly what they wished for and had successful prints. I am honestly blown away by some of the beautiful work these students created, how hard they worked, and how much fun they had completing the pieces each and every week. This course was such a reward for me, something that I think I’ll take on with me in my future teaching endeavors as a truly educating experience.
*Inspiration for the following lesson plans were based on this article from The Art of Ed.