When I mention that I'm a teacher in new company, I'm often surprised at the intensity of the emotions recalled by those responding (regardless of age) as they think back to their own school days: some are wistful and nostalgic; some still chafe at memories of arbitrary rules and monotony; some ache over lost opportunities or joke about their rascally childhood selves. For me, "school" was an intense concentration of the wider world, intellectually and socially. It meant excitement, anxiety, satisfaction, and wonder.
Both the rewards and challenges of school made it a special place for me. The thrill I get to this day when engrossed in creative or academic pursuits echo those early days at school. I loved the idea that a single building represented so many branches of knowledge; an Elysium for the curious mind.
This enthusiasm continued as I entered college and began studying art education. I had always considered a career in education and decided to fuse this interest with my passion for making and extolling the values of art. In the years since, I've taught preschoolers, teenagers, college students and adults.
My teaching philosophy is an interdisciplinary one, and I find the arts especially well-suited to this type of instruction. Visual arts encompasses both the conceptual and the technical, the historical and the yet-to-be-determined. This duality fosters a dynamic learning environment unique to the art room. Here, students have the freedom to express their own ideas while always finding new ways to work with media, studying precedents, thinking critically, and incorporating cultural aspects both broad and specific.
Art instruction is by essence a tricky proposition. Free expression vs. practiced technique, precedent building vs. precedent destruction, concept vs. object - the paradoxes go on. Art teachers often hunker down as either DBAE structuralists or postmodern relativists. I favor a balance customized to the individual teaching context. It’s been my experience that uninspired and unexamined instruction bores or stresses students, while inspired yet inconsistent instruction leaves them cynical and listless. My goal is to strive for that ideal medium in which there is no distinction between “what is required” and “what is interesting.”