My “Aha!” moment as an educator occurred years ago when I came across this quote from teacher and child psychologist Haim Ginott, “I’ve come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized.” So based loosely on this credo, my approach to teaching revolves around the following precepts:
1. Establishing a mutual relationship of respect with students is paramount. This basic understanding creates a prevailing positivity which keeps the minds of students open to new ideas.
2. As a teacher, I must keep my mind open to new ideas. As the world changes, so do the daily lives of our children. Students can not relate to ideas and concepts that they feel do not relate to them. I am constantly looking for new things to learn, as well as new ways to teach the old things I want them to know. Social media is a perfect example of this. I use it, because my students use it. It is a clear way to relate the concepts I teach and to learn new ideas that reshape the way we all see the world.
3. I believe students need to talk in order to learn. Through questions, critiques, debates and discussions, students are given the opportunity to add their viewpoints and experiences, as well as those of their peers, thus reshaping and refining the ideas and concepts that I have shared with them.
4. Project products are important, but not nearly as important as the process. Howard Gardiner, a well known education theorist said “artistic learning grows from children doing things: not just imitating but actually creating…” When students are given time to explore, it will yield the most meaningful and memorable results. Art journals, kept in every class, are reflective, personal accounts of this exploration. Time spent journaling, is time spent learning.
5. For the transference of knowledge to occur, students must sense my energy. I am excited about what I teach. It’s super cool stuff! How can students want to learn that which a teacher is not excited about teaching?I would hope that as a successful teacher, I create a classroom atmosphere where students know that their voice will be heard, feel safe enough to take risks, are sufficiently challenged, and develop a curiosity and an appreciation for new and different ideas. A daunting task, but I am enjoying the challenge!
What do you like about teaching at TBCS?
Teaching at TBCS Is great for a lot of reasons. The biggest bonus for me is the freedom that teachers are given to bring new and different ideas to their classrooms.... The world is a very different place for our children than it was for us; I believe that our teaching strategies should change so that they reflect that.
- Courses and Grade Levels:
- Studio Art 1 (9th-12th)
- Studio Art 2 (10th-12th)
- Photography (9th-12th)
- AP Art History (11th-12th)
- Certifications and Honors:
- Member of the National Art Education Association and South Carolina Art Education Association
- AP Certification
- Savannah College of Art and Design Continuing Education Certification
- National Society of High School Scholars Educator of Distinction Award
- B.A. in Studio Art, University of South Carolina
- M.A. in Art Education, University of South Carolina