I, too, am sensitive to the whole issue of expecting an art teacher to have
an artist's portfolio/exhibit schedule/etc.
The reason I am an art educator is because I am more excited about sharing
my passion for and knowledge of art than I am about making it. There is
nothing I enjoy learning about more than art...but when I learn about it, it
is with mindset of "how can I teach this concept?" or "what could my
students gain from this?" or "what could my students do with this?" or some
other question regarding how something will apply to my curriculum and
benefit my students.
At one time I thought I would become an artist, and eventually go into
teaching. What I found was that I had no direction as an artist; I wanted to
learn a little about so many things, but to be successful as an artist, or
at least as an MFA student, as I was enrolled for a brief time in an MFA
program, I'd have to focus on painting more, when I wasn't ready to do that.
I sill wanted to explore surface design, computer graphics programs,
printmaking, photography--I wanted to dabble in all of it!
I realized that since I DID feel a sense of direction about becoming a
teacher, I'd become a teacher first, and eventually I'd find my way as an
artist. Teaching provides for me the perfect framework on which to
contextualize all the art topics that interest me. Teaching gives me the
reason to keep seeking knowledge and experience with techniques, media, art
history, and more.
Being an art educator fulfills my creative drive and allows me to serve in
my community. For me, it is an ideal match.
Of course, I teach elementary art. Back when I taught high school, I felt
very awkward that I did not have a well-developed body of work that I could
share with my students and say, "this is what I do" or "this is what I am
working on right now" or "come see my work that is currently on exhibit."
I feel that certainly in higher education, it is desirable to have working
artists as the instructors of studio classes. But it do not feel that one
HAS to be a practicing artist in order to be a highly effective art
Just my perspective. I must also add that I have a very high respect and
admiration for individuals who are accomplished artists and are able to find
balance between teaching and creating. I am not there yet. My current
challenge is trying to find the balance between teaching and motherhood.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Maggie White" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group"
Sent: Friday, June 09, 2006 11:33 AM
Subject: Re: [teacherartexchange] Artist/Teacher Portfolio
> This is a situation that somewhat irks me about art teachers applying for
> jobs. Does it seem that we're the only ones expected to have a
> professional body of work, if not an actual exhibit schedule? Is the
> language arts applicant expected to have published, or at least show the
> Great American Novel in progress? Does the math applicant have to develop
> new theories of algorithms in her spare time? Does the science applicant
> spend the summer searching for a cure for cancer? Does the P.E. teacher
> bring in a teaching portfolio in a gym bag?
> Maggie, playing the devil's advocate
> Della Buzard wrote:
>><snip> My portfolio has most of what you are all
>>talking about but we have to use artist portfolios
>>that you would find in an art store. In it we start
>>with our artist statement and then a simple page that
>>shows some personality of who we are. <snip> The last thing in my
>>portfolio is my personal artwork, it is important for
>>a school to see that you are passionate about your own
>>art as well and to see what skills you may be able to
>>pass on to your students.
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