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Re: [teacherartexchange] artists as teachers


From: Harold Olejarz (holejarz_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Jul 16 2006 - 17:29:26 PDT


I have read through most of the posts on this topic and here is my .02

First some background - I got my MFA and then spent about 10 years
"trying to make it as an artist." I had some successes but not enough
so that I could quit driving the taxi (and then limo) for half the
week to make enough money to live on. It was at that point that I got
my teaching license and started teaching middle school. In the 15
years that I have been teaching I have worked with and met art
educators who were and who weren't "artists." (I think the term needs
to be defined--- was I an artist when I was making art and driving a
cab? Am I an artist if during the school year my teaching becomes so
time consuming that a few months go by and I haven't made any of my
own art?)

The art educators that I met and worked with that made art brought
that experience to the classroom and I think it helped. Did it make
them a better art educator? Yes. Did it make them a better art
educator than someone who wasn't a "artist?" No. There are many
factors that go into the making of a good teacher in any content area.

I would guess that most people who teach art have, at one point,
gotten involved in making art and developed a connection to art
making. How deeply involved in art making the person got is not that
important but deeply enough to make a connection that can be shared
with students. To me this is the critical element in the making of a
competent art educator.

Harold Olejarz
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