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Lesson Plans

Re: a question to you

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Wed, 4 Nov 1998 19:51:48 EST

I am an art ed. Student at the University of Wyoming in Laramie.
My question: How do art teachers make time and justify being working
artists while they teach?

It's not a question of making time "while" you teach. When you are engaged in
the teaching process you are practicing the "art" of teaching which is
different than practicing one's craft as an artist. It is important, I
think, for art teachers, to be fully effective in the classroom, to be
practicing artists in their own medium. Good teachers are not necessarily
great artists, but I think the better teachers, are students of art on their
own and never loose the creative passion, love for materials, and endless
potential that art allows to develop in expression, ideas, and feelings. If
art is a passion, a good teacher makes time around school time, and often in
school time not to only serve as a good model for the "artist as worker,"
but to demonstrate the commitment, seriousness, and effort that art requires.
In my experience, students respect, admire, and learn more from any teacher
(of any subject) that exhibits a passion for their field. Art teachers,
through their own practice, have an advantage in the ease of the visible
demonstration of this characteristic over subjects such as math, history, or

I use my own work, works in progress, and failures as examples for students.
It is important to see that art is not an exact science and that there are a
variety of approaches and solutions while attacking creative problems. While
students are working on studio work, I, often between individual critiques,
work right along side them. It's fun (and humbling) when their creative
ideas outshine mine.

I can't imagine being inspired by a teacher whose only claim to fame is their
teaching certificate. A good teacher needs to have a passion for the subject,
a spark that can ignite students imagination, and of course know the
rudiments of the craft of teaching. I contend that great teachers are
artists and not just craftsmen. If one only knows the craft, without the
magic of inspiration and passion, the learning that goes on in the classroom
will be uneventful and fruitless. I might reverse your question and ask how
can an art teacher not justify and make time to be artists while they teach?

Bill R.