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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Jaclyn Bousquet

March 9, 2017

MALI Teacher Leaders Series

This is the second blog post of the Phase 6 Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader stories. This series includes a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about the work each Maine visual or performing arts teacher or artist is doing.  CLICK HERE  for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE  for more information on the 81 Teacher Leaders plus 4 Teaching Artist Leaders.  CLICK HERE  for Arts education resources. CLICK HERE  for the MALI Resource Bank. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past teacher leader stories. There have been 73 posted to date. Thank you Jackie for sharing your story!

Jaclyn Bousquet presently teaches Visual Art to grades 9-12 at Traip Academy in Kittery, ME where she has spent the majority of her five year teaching career. At Traip Academy, Jackie teaches seven visual arts courses including AP/Advanced Art, Mixed Media, Art Fundamentals, Drawing, Painting, Stained Glass, and Pottery. On average, Jackie teaches about 125 students per year with many repeating students taking multiple art courses each year. In addition to teaching art, Jaclyn is also a Co-Advisor for the class of 2017 and the S2S/Interact club.

What do you like best about being a music/art/theater/dance educator?

I love the positive relationships I have fostered with my wonderful and passionate art students. It is the most amazing feeling in the world to know that I am making an impact on these students by encouraging their creativity and exposing them to the visual arts.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

The essentials for any successful visual and performing arts education include, community and school investment, a passionate and effective art teacher, and a budget!

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

Assessment is helpful in providing feedback to students so that they may improve upon their future work, as well as make revisions to make stronger work. Quality assessment and rubrics also validates the arts as integral to a well rounded education.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative?

As the only visual arts educator in my building, I often work in isolation. Becoming involved with MALI has enabled me to network and collaborate with other visual arts teachers across the state. Working with MALI has also encouraged me to become more confident in my own leadership abilities, as I have been pushed outside of my comfort zone in creating and presenting workshops for other art educators.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am extremely proud of the partnerships I have worked so hard to create with the surrounding community over the last four years. I have collaborated with local businesses, art galleries, and community members in order to enhance student learning and advocate for the arts. As a result of my efforts, I now have three annual art shows that occur in the community, as well as other meaningful projects that encourage students to communicate and collaborate with community members outside of the classroom.

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

Time! As a teacher with seven art courses, it often feels as though I am racing time even with a block schedule. Having enough time to create meaningful and engaging lessons and art activities, provide students with meaningful feedback through assessment, and engage in professional development is extremely challenging.

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

I am lucky to be working in a community that places strong value on the arts, so I think the work involved with setting up art shows and collaborating with local businesses can easily be overlooked or underestimated. I’ve worked extremely hard to set up community partners and display student work in public spaces in order to advocate for my program.

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

As a relatively new teacher myself, there are still many things I am figuring out! The advice I would give to a new teacher, and that I often need to remind myself, is to continue making art and pursuing your own passions because it will radiate into your teaching. Additionally, I would stress the importance of changing things up and avoiding routine in the classroom. It is easy to repeat successful lessons year after year, but just like our students, it is important for us to take risks in order to learn and grow and become stronger educators.

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

The first thing I would do is revamp my classroom with new cabinetry and storage, and workstations for kids. Maybe I would create an entirely new classroom and expand our program! I would also invest in some expensive new Pottery equipment. I might create some kind of arts enrichment program or grant for schools that do not have formal arts education programs in place.

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

This is a hard question! I will be so wise by the time I am 94, that any “regrets” will be thought of as learning experiences that helped shape who I am. I believe that everything happens for a reason and that I am always exactly where I need to be and that things unfold for a purpose. In the present, I am doing what I love and would not trade a minute of it!

2 comments

  1. This is an outstanding article by this incredible art teacher. I am so impressed by the description of her programs and her philosophy. Lucky kids to be in her classes!


  2. Thanks for your comment Gay – YES, Jackie’s students are fortunate! ~Argy



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