Stories from the Field
Edited By David J. Connor and Beth A. Ferri
7. Paintings on Clear Plastic that Hang from the Ceiling
“Is there somewhere else I could teach art that isn’t a typical school?” I asked the director of the art education program at my undergraduate art school. I was 21 years old and it was time for me to do my student teaching. All of my classmates went to typical elementary, middle and high schools to try their hand at being art teachers. I couldn’t imagine this for myself. I never envisioned myself as a teacher of anything. I thought of myself as shy and not particularly gifted in doing school and a little angsty, perfect for an artist. The idea that I could stand in front of a classroom and get kids to listen to me, let alone motivate them, seemed impossible.
My major was sculpture and only at my mom’s insistence did I sign up for a minor in art education that would lead to a teaching credential. She reminded me that I had loans waiting for me upon graduation and that most people in the fine arts need other hustles. I went to talk to the director of the art education program, just to talk, and she said that if I was unsure about teaching, I should take the practicum class before committing to anything. The practicum class was teaching at a Saturday art school program, offered to kids in the surrounding community. Because I was signing up late, the director told me that I wouldn’t be working with kids, all...
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