The importance of a good art teacher.

April 18, 2016  •  1 Comment
Many of you art teachers probably started off feeling really good about art. You were good at it and teachers told you you were good at it. You probably showed your work proudly. That's not how I started. My grade school art teacher never cared for me and said I talked too much (I probably did). She never liked what I created. Her criticisms still ring in my ears. It's funny I have a terrible memory but I remember doing a linocut (linoleum printmaking) and she told me it is was boring. I think I was in 4th grade and was just trying to get by. It wasn't an easy process and I was trying. I didn't have any great love for art at that point so I just let it go.

Then on to middle school. A fresh start? The two art/home economic teachers were not very encouraging either. I remember making a design for a latch hook piece. It was pretty basic and geometric. One of the teachers told me it was "Trite and Redundant". No advice, no suggestions. I don't think I really knew what that meant (I was 12 or 13) but I knew it was bad. I'm pretty sure I threw the project away when it was done.

So I continued on. Never thinking art would be apart of my life and not knowing what I would want to do. When I got to high school I didn't take classes in art until I was a junior. I was able to take photography classes at the Des Moines Central Campus. It was a school full of programs for students who longed for something different (computer programming, art, languages....). I took photography for 2 hours a day for 2 years. And that's when I met a teacher that changed my life. The very unassuming man was Mr. Greenwood. I doubt he has ever known the affect he had on my life (although I have written and talked about him often). He didn't necessarily love my images but he gave me encouragement and direction that I really needed. I learned how to develop film and make prints. He taught us about composition and encouraged us to show our work. Art is something you can learn. It's always been strange when people tell me that I'm a talented photographer. I don't think it is talent. It's been hard work. I still work at it all the time.

After high school I went to a technical school for photography. I quickly discovered that I wanted something different. As much as I loved photography I wanted to learn about other art forms. So I went back to Des Moines and took several classes at Des Moines Area Community College then I applied to the University of Iowa and amazingly enough I was accepted. I had many wonderful teachers and learned how to work with different materials and studied Art Education. It was such a great experience and helped me to develop into a teacher who cared and encouraged rather than embarrassed or belittled students.

You might have had a similar experience but maybe it was music or writing. Good teachers make a BIG difference. Continuing to make art is important. Although I haven't taught in awhile I know some days it's more about grades, lesson plans and classroom management. It's important to remember why you started teaching in the first place.

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Comments

1.Kim Wine(non-registered)
Those middle school teachers called my work "trite and redundant" too (and I remember their names). Thanks for giving me a nudge to get back to creating again. We'll see if it is trite and/or redundant.
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