MY JOURNEY IN ARTS EDUCATION

My journey into teaching came through a back door. While I was on a two-year leave of absence from the California College of the Arts. It started with a chair I painted called Time Out Because. I illustrated a story on the chair my two cousins who were toddlers at the time. The chairs excitement resulted in a teaching referral. 

After that, I became an Art Instructor for a local community center. I soon discovered that I had a huge learning curve to overcome. I had taught before, but never on my own. So, I had to get to work and learn everything possible about teaching, and behavior management. Jumping in head first allowed me to experiment with what learning looks like. Over the years l learned and tested several different pedagogies and approaches to learning until I found a stride that worked for my students. Plus, when I returned to school, I had a new awareness and focus, one in Illustration, and the other in Arts Education. So I took full advantage of my schools Arts Ed and Community Arts Courses to expand my growth in Arts Learning. 

My goal in Arts Education was to find ways to integrate the Arts into learning. I feel that learning should be a fun and rewarding experience, d that it should never stop. In order for this to happen, I had to look back at my own learning experience. My early years were fun, as my elementary school was very hands-on, diverse, and collaborative. This gave me the space to discover I wanted to be an Artist when I grew up! Learning happened through song, rhymes, movement, art making, and sharing. It wasn't until later in my education during my upper-class years that learning meant sitting down and memorizing facts and figures. They told me that I had a learning disability. Today I know better. 

I'm not saying that learning disabilities don't exist, but I know that my ability to learn depended on whether it was hands-on, visual, interactive and fun. These experiences I remember, the other ones I don't. Which is why I seek out memorable and engaging learning experiences for my students. 

On my journey. I set out to prove my theory right.I put it to the test! By exploring a variety of ways to infuse academic curriculum with the arts, through experimental, experiential and collaborative learning. What happened was miraculous. Students started to learn through fun, art, movement, and collaboration,  just as I did in elementary school, a type of learning in disguise. This learning stayed with them because it was more meaningful and memorable.  Today this practice of learning is my Teaching Philosophy. I create meaningful classes that are fun, engaging, collaborative, hands-on, and memorable. Which open the doors for investigation, imagination, curiosity, and real learning.