My experience as an educator began with a position teaching computer skills to preschool age children. With this experience I discovered my aptitude for teaching. I had the patience and empathy to spend as much time working with each student as they needed to really grasp the concepts, and I realized that I truly loved sharing the knowledge I had with children. This skill grew even more when I began teaching digital art classes to teens and preteens at the top tech camp in the country. I was able to successfully adapt my teaching style to a new situation and new age group. A big focus of my energy at camp was also dedicated to developing strong mentoring relationships with the campers. I saw firsthand how respecting a student and having confidence in their ability to learn went a long way to their own increased self efficacy. It was during this experience that I recognized that I had a true passion for teaching; I enjoyed helping my students develop their projects just as much as I enjoyed working on my own projects. This is when I decided I should to go back to school to prepare for a career in teaching.
After a year in the UNCA Art Education program, I was offered an exciting opportunity to travel to Saudi Arabia. I was chosen by iD Tech as one of their 6 top instructors. We were invited to teach technology classes such as web design, robotics and game design at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture summer program. This experience combined my love of different cultures with my interest in technology, art and teaching. I loved seeing firsthand how art and technology can break language barriers. I believe that everyone should experience a culture that is different from their own and art is a wonderful way to bring different cultures into the classroom. I want my students to learn to be visual speakers; with art they can share about themselves and others through visual storytelling that surpasses language barriers. By exploring the diverse artistic traditions of other cultures students can become more open minded and accepting of people different than themselves. Students can learn so much about the world and themselves from observing and creating. I am truly excited to be able to assist with that process.
My teaching philosophy has three main goals. Firstly I wish to impart the knowledge of technical skills, vocabulary and understanding of materials. I will achieve this by designing my curriculum around the standards relating to the principals and elements of art.
My next goal is to create a bridge between the skills they are learning in the art room to what they are learning in their other classes. My experience as a digital lab manager allowed me to collaborate with teachers of each grade level every day to come up with lesson plans that aligned with what the students were already learning in their classroom.
Finally, I would like to make what the students learn in the classroom relevant to them. I wish instill the joy of lifelong learning in my students and I believe that can be achieved if the students understand why the topics they are learning about are important. One way I will do this is through making the connection to technology through my lessons. Between my bachelor’s degree in digital multimedia and my current job as a technology teacher, I am confident in my ability to develop real life connections that the students will be able to relate to. From creating stop motion animations to developing their own web site portfolio I want to prepare my students for emerging mediums in the art world as well as being prepared with skills that encourage them to be 21st century learners.