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Another Arts Teachers’ Story: Jennie Driscoll

June 26, 2012

Featuring one teacher’s journey as an educator

This is the 15th in a series of blog posts telling arts teachers’ stories. This series contains a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to read educators stories and to learn from others.

Jennie Driscoll has been teaching visual arts for 24 years and is presently the chair of the Arts Department at
Brunswick High School
She has taught Photography I , Photography II, Art 3, Art 4, and Advanced Placement Studio Art for students in grades 10-12. Jennie is one of the teacher leaders with Phase 1 of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative.

What do you like best about being an art educator?

Helping students develop confidence as they express their ideas in a variety of media and utilize technical skill. I find media and tools an exciting pathway for the expression. I like seeing personal artistic growth and a seriousness of purpose develop in my students over time.

Tell me what you think are three keys to ANY successful arts ed program?

  1. What –Strong assignments that encourage students to problem solve.
  2. How – Teach technique with media so students have the right set of tools for expression.
  3. Share – Authentic assessments that allow for reflection on craft and expression.

What specific way(s) do your assessment practices tie into the success of your program?

I allow my students to be part of the assessment process and invite them to reflect and revise their art work to make it the best they can be. I invite the class to support one another with feedback. My goal is to help students express their ideas clearly in visual media.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

Sharing and connecting with arts professionals that deal with the same issues.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Always being there to support my art students as they take risks and make mistakes. Student successes  have a big impact on letting me know I am on the right track.

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

Not having enough time and too much to do, oh also the little beep I get when an email comes in.

Apple or PC?

Apple

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

I have done my best to build and maintain a strong visual art program as well as meet the needs of individual students.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Although there are many days that seem like you don’t know if you are making a difference  or not, hang in there because the universe will share meaningful moments and your purpose will be validated. There will be specific art works that your brain will absorb and will always remember and thus you will in turn remember the student who did it.

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

I would purchase a kiln and supplies for ceramics in each elementary art department in Maine that does not have one. Of course I would include teacher training in curriculum, assessment, and operation along with clay, some tools and cones!

Thank you for sharing your story Jennie!

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