Posts Tagged ‘Another Arts Teacher’s Story’

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Charles Michaud

March 28, 2017

MALI Teacher Leaders Series

This is the fifth 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 75 posted to date. Thank you Charles for sharing your story!

Charles Michaud is the Pre-K – 12 music teacher at MSAD#33 in Frenchville and St. Agatha, MSAD#33 has a little less than 200 students and is located on the northern border of the state.  Charles teaches general music for grades Pre-K – 6, and offers band for students from grades 4 – 6.  This is his third year teaching at Wisdom Middle/High School and Dr. Levesque Elementary School.

What do you like best about being a music educator?

In my opinion, the best part of being a music educator are the moments when learners surprise themselves by playing or singing something impressive. They light up and gain a whole new confidence in themselves.

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

  1. Accessibility: Learners need opportunities to access the arts. While this seems like common sense from an outsider’s perspective, we all know the challenges of fitting in the schedule.
  2. Customization: A program that adapts to the abilities of the students requires customizing lessons and materials to meet the learning styles and speeds of the learners. I think that the best way to draw students into the arts is to make the arts theirs.
  3. Appropriateness: Every arts program exists within the context of the community. Make sure the goals of the program not only provides access to the broader arts world, but also has deep roots in the musical culture of the area. Many programs try to adapt the local culture to fit their music, but I think a successful program draws the community in by drawing the local musical culture into the program.

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

Assessment is a big cog in the learning machine. Assessment is communication about learning, and plays an essential role in my classroom.

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

MALI has given me access to a community of arts educators on the cutting edge of their disciplines. Our collaborations and conversations have pushed me to innovate as an arts educator, which has been all to the benefit of my students.

What are you most proud of in your career?

The strength of community in my band is what has made me the most proud in my short career.  In the end, I find that what keeps students coming back year after year is that band is their home away from home.

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

My biggest barrier to becoming a better teacher is a lack of time for developing all of the cool new lessons and methods that I would like to try. Imagine what a few solid weeks of straight lesson planning could do for a teacher!

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

Increasing the numbers in the music program has been my challenge since year one. I have been very successful in this regard, but it could easily be attributed to the great students that we have in our district.

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

Work hard and be innovative, because proficiency based education can present some very unique opportunities for the arts.

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

If my program received 500k, I would create a position that bridges the gap from arts in school and arts in the community. This would connect my students with authentic learning experiences, and give them a model context for their role in the local arts scene.

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

I have a long road to travel before I hit 94, so I will almost inevitably regret something. For now, however, I am very content with the choices that I have made. Fingers crossed!

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Hilary Martin

March 21, 2017

MALI Teacher Leaders Series

This is the fourth 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 74 posted to date. Thank you Hillary for sharing your story!

Hilary Martin is currently working as a grades K-8 ed. tech. at the Vassalboro Community School in AOS 92. Before this year, beginning in 2013, she worked as the K-12 theatre teacher at the Vinalhaven School, where she taught K-5 drama, high school public speaking, and middle and high school electives in acting, directing, playwriting, and technical theatre and design. While at Vinalhaven Hilary also directed after-school productions.

What do you like best about being an arts educator?

Having the opportunity to help students be creators, and giving students who might not be highly successful in other classes a place where they can shine.

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

Community support, investment from administrators and colleagues, and a passionate teacher.

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

Assessment allows me to get a sense of what students have and haven’t mastered, so I know what curriculum areas to spend extra time on, and it allows me to give students useful, constructive feedback on their work.

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

Being an arts educator can often feel very isolated–a lot of time you’re the only one in the building in your subject area, and being a theatre teacher even more so, as there aren’t that many of us in the state! Being involved with MALI has been a wonderful opportunity to network and share resources with other theatre teachers.

What are you most proud of in your career?

While at Vinalhaven, I began taking students to the Maine Drama Festival. Our first year attending we placed second at the regional competition, and the program has been successful enough to continue under the new Vinalhaven theatre teacher. I’m very proud of how I was able to expand the already very strong theatre program at Vinalhaven!

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

Time, or the lack of it! With all of the responsibilities teachers have there is very little time for professional development, collaborating with colleagues, or even individual curriculum planning–all things that are crucial to being an effective educator.

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

While on Vinalhaven, I had the opportunity to become a literacy interventionist, in addition to my work as the theatre teacher. This gave me a great opportunity to improve my skills as a teacher and get to know my students in a new way. While to some extent that opportunity was a result of being in the right place at the right time, it was also a result of my own hard work and commitment to continuing my education and training.

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

Know your limits, and don’t be afraid to say no to additional commitments. Arts educators tend to love what we do a great deal, and as a result it can be easy to overextend ourselves–I know I’ve found myself in positions where I took on more than I could reasonably handle! Remember to leave yourself space for rest and recovery.

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

I would create a program to expand the number of in or after school theatre programs for elementary students. For many students, their first opportunity to participate in theatre comes in middle or high school, but elementary students can benefit just as much from being involved in theatre.

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

It’s hard to say, but I hope that by the time I reach 94 I’ll have the perspective to look back on all the moments of my life as valuable learning experiences!

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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!

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Jason Bannister

February 28, 2017

MALI Teacher Leader Series

mali_v1_color_100ppiThis is the first 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 72 posted to date. Thank you Jason for sharing your story!

screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-10-11-23-pmJason Bannister presently teaches Theater to grade  7 and 8 students at the Troy Howard Middle School, RSU 71, Belfast. He has taught for 14 years, all in Belfast – 5 years at 4th grade, 3 years middle school ELA, 6 years middle school theater. Jason teaches 250 kids each year, one trimester of performing arts (theater primarily) each year for two years. He also directs the drama club productions and created the Maine Student Acting Competition.

 

What do you like best about being a theater educator?

I have the opportunity to teach something I love to kids, to expose them to theater. The best thing is seeing a student develop an interest in theater from taking the class, and maybe joining the next production onstage.

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

There needs to be support from your staff and administration. You shouldn’t have to sell the importance of theater arts education to them. There needs to be a proper space to rehearse, perform and store costumes, sets and props. And the class needs to be required, but with the understanding that not everyone is ‘into it’ – so you need to find interesting ways to teach kids about theater where they aren’t worried they’ll have to get up in front of the class.

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

I have used many different forms of formative and summative assessment in my performing arts classes. Some are helpful, but sometimes the process is more valuable than the product.

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

I was given a chance to focus on a particular unit of study I was creating for my classes. I bounced ideas off other theater teachers. I don’t get this chance very often as the only theater teacher in RSU 71.

What are you most proud of in your career?

When I see a former student go on to college and major in theater. Especially when I remember them being shy or not into theater before taking my class or being in a play/musical I directed.

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

I see some teachers using old units over and over. I am always re-inventing units or coming up with new projects. I try to keep what works well and get rid of what doesn’t. When I started my performing arts class years ago lots of kids didn’t like it. This year most kids love it. If I didn’t make changes to what and how I teach I wouldn’t be effective.

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

I guess being a performing arts teacher in a middle school where the class is mandatory for kids to take. I worked hard to get this class created. There just aren’t lots of programs in Maine like what I’ve created. I am honored to have my job, but it’s been (and continues to be) a long road.

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

Fight the mindset some people have about theater arts education – it IS NOT an extra fluff type of subject. You can’t just say ‘oh, well the kids have drama club after school’ – that isn’t the same. Theater arts education is so important in so many ways to so many different kids. Don’t settle – work your hardest to get an equal footing with the ‘core subjects’.

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

That’s simple – I would put it towards building a proper theater to perform in. Enough of these cafetoriums. It’s ridiculous that there isn’t a dedicated performance space in my school district.

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

I have regrets everyday – how I could have taught that better, worked harder to connect with a student, not said something that hurt someone’s feelings. I guess I hope when I’m that old I won’t regret the time I’ve spent teaching theater and the time I’ve missed with my own children.

THE MAINE ARTS LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE

 Committed to the development of Teacher Leaders to ensure deep understanding and meaningful implementation of high quality teaching, learning and assessment in the Arts for all students.

If you are interested in becoming a teacher leader please email Argy Nestor at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Allie Rimkunas

May 31, 2016

Teacher Leader series

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This is the twelfth and final blog post of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Phase 5  Teacher Leader stories. This series contains a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about the work they are doing as Maine arts educators. CLICK HERE for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE for more information on the 73 of the MALI Teacher Leaders. CLICK HERE for Arts education resources. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past stories. There have been 71 posted to date.

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 9.05.08 PMAllie Rimkunas has taught in the Gorham School Department for 18 years, the last 12 as a K-5 Art teacher responsible for 500+ students.

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

I get to play with the coolest supplies with all of the students. I also love getting messy and reminding kids that nothing is perfect.

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

Having fun, teaching how to be courageous, imperfect, and open to change. (Oops, that was four. Hey- I’m an Art teacher, not a math teacher!)

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

It makes me think much more about what I’m teaching, how I’m teaching, why I’m teaching it, and how it can help my students to become more creative inside and outside the Art room.

IMG_0178What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

It’s great to hang out with Arts teachers from all over Maine and pick their brains not only about assessment, but everything else that we have in common. It’s lonely being the only Art teacher in the school with no one else to commiserate with on topics that are important to me as an Art teacher. Our district VPA teachers are given time together only once or twice a year. We’re social animals and need time to share and learn from each other.

Meeting with folks from all over the state also gives me tons of ideas to think about and new strategies to try out.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Whenever I run into students at the grocery store they run to me and not away from me.

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

The lack of time to do all of the things I want/need/should do.

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

I would change the word “luck” to “talent” and say that my artistic and teaching “talent” is not innate but developed through work and perseverance.

As far as “luck” is concerned, I’m the luckiest Art teacher in Maine, probably the world. I have a beautiful Art room, wonderful co-workers, understanding and supportive administrators, and terrific students.

IMG_0366Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Love your kids, especially the difficult ones. You never know how far love will reach in their lives.

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

I’d pay off my kids’ college debts, then I’d love to create a nature program for the neighborhood kids, and then…wait, can we up it to an even million? I need to do some traveling to soak in the Art and cultures of the world.

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

My only regret is that cloning has not been perfected so that I can have a second brain to remember all of my student’s names (especially in the grocery store when their names become “sweetie”, “big guy”, or “you with the face”).

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Holly Leighton

April 27, 2016

Teacher Leader series

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This is the seventh blog post of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Phase 5  Teacher Leader stories. This series contains a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about the work they are doing as Maine arts educators. CLICK HERE for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE for more information on the 73 of the MALI Teacher Leaders. CLICK HERE for Arts education resources. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past stories. There have been 66 posted to date.

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 8.42.57 PMHolly Leighton has been an elementary art teacher at the Ella P. Burr School in Lincoln for 17 years seeing 400+ students weekly. This year she moved to the district’s high school, Mattanawcook Academy, where she is the art teacher with 92 art students from grades 9-12. (RSU 67) Holly’s main responsibilities are teaching six 70 minute classes and covering the visual art standards.

What do you like best about being a visual art educator?

I love working with the students and watching their confidence in their art abilities grow. When I have a student that feels they “just aren’t good in art” I make it my mission to help them find their strengths and show them their growth as they go. When they begin to show pride in their art, embrace new media eagerly, and start thinking outside the box, I feel I have done my job well. It is very fulfilling and makes me feel proud to hopefully be making a difference in student’s lives.

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

I believe it requires teachers that are knowledgeable and passionate about teaching the arts and understands and loves working with students of all ages. I believe there has to be support from the administration, school board, and community. I believe we have to build strong art programs and continually advocate for them.

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

I like to use formative assessments to track student’s growth and guide my teaching. I like to make sure each student knows where they are and where they need to go next in their learning. I have students do self-reflections on their artwork using the critical analysis process. I feel it makes students really think about their art, gives it importance, and makes them proud of what they have done.

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

Confidence! I was very unsure about how effectively I was using assessments in my classroom. After attending the conference in the fall I realized many of the others felt the same and we are on the right track. I learned so much from the others, creative resources for assessing in the arts, confidence in using my voice, and that we all have good ideas and need to share them. I have become a much more confident teacher.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am proud of whom I have become through my years of teaching and this has happened because of the many dedicated colleagues that have mentored and encouraged me on my way. I consider myself a good teacher that cares about the students and really wants them to succeed in life.

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

For me it is time. Teachers are expected to spend so much time on new initiatives, trying new programs to improve the way we do things, meetings, and duties. We need to have time set aside on early release and workshop days to work on curriculum and standards, reflect on our teaching, and the multitude of other things that have to be done to keep our programs running effectively.

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

I have always tried to find ways to bring the students to the arts and artists to the classroom. We have had authors, illustrators, drama and dances teachers, and musicians come preform and/or teach in the classrooms. We have had multiple field trips to the Portland Museum of Art, Colby Art Museum and University of Maine Museum of Art. With help from my arts colleagues, I arrange these events at little or no cost to the district through grant opportunities and foundations. It is a lot of work and sometimes seems to just happen to others. I do it because I feel it is important for students in our rural area to experience the arts first hand.

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

Reach out and network with others. Join state and national organizations and be an active member. There is a wealth of resources out there to help with funding for field trips to the arts, to bring working artist to your schools and professional development opportunities for yourself.

If you were given $500,000 dollars to do whatever you please, what would it be?

I would go on vacation and travel to all the places here and overseas that I have wanted to see. I would pay off our home and fix up our family’s summer camp on the lake. With the rest I would fund a ceramics studio for our art program.

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

No. I use to have regrets, but finally realized that choices I have made have led me to be who I am today, my family, friends and work ethic. I believe the choices we make in the past lead us in different directions and where I had ended up at this point in my life, I couldn’t be happier.

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Iva Damon

April 13, 2016

Teacher Leader series

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This is the sixth blog post of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Phase 5  Teacher Leader stories. This series contains a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about the work they are doing as Maine arts educators. CLICK HERE for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE for more information on the 73 of the MALI Teacher Leaders. CLICK HERE for Arts education resources. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past stories. There have been 65 posted to date.

Iva Damon, 2Iva Damon is the 9-12 high school level in visual arts at Leavitt Area High School. She teaches art 1, art 2, natural arts, painting, and two dual enrollment classes through UMFK. This is her fifth year teaching at Leavitt and seventh year teaching in general. In my six classes, Iva has just under 100 students total. She is also the co-advisor to the Class of 2019.

What do you like best about being an arts educator?

It’s a unique experience to see students challenge themselves to be creative and try new things. The best part is having the opportunity to see how students grow throughout their high school experience.

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

A sense of humor, patience, and continuing to be an active artist in one’s own discipline. We all are working with kids and a sense of humor and patience go a long way in making connections with students in a meaningful human way. Far too often there are so many items as teachers we are juggling to keep up with. We are all busy, but I personally need to take the time and just create art. It keeps my passion for what I am teaching alive when I can share what I do and why I find it important with my own students.

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

Assessments in my classroom are essential to understanding how well my students are learning. Formative assessments are the best way to check for understanding and influence how long and and in-depth lessons need to be within a unit. Personally, formative assessments should guide instruction to fit the needs of the students.

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

The Arts Assessment Initiative validates that there are other art teachers throughout the state who have a similar passion to become connected, advocate for our profession, and want to become better educators. It has given me the opportunity to work with individuals outside my district to share with and learn from.

What are you most proud of in your career?

The relationships I have been able to develop both professionally with peers and students. It’s an amazing thing to have shiny new faces in introductory classes, and continue to have those students come back for one to three more years because in some way I was able to capture and inspire their interest in the arts. Having students become passionate about a subject that I love so much is such a powerful experience.

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

All of the other things that occur that take us away from teaching or working with kids. There are so many tasks, duties, and assignments that are given to teachers, and I feel like the quantity increases every year. There is a need to reflect on one’s practice within the classroom and how well students are receptive to information, updating and changing curriculum, but there are so many other items that have found their way into my normal day.

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

Every year Leavitt holds their Art’s Gala celebration in March. It is the annual art show that occurs Thursday night after a week of having 5-8 visiting artists come into the building to work with all the arts teachers as well as other content area teachers. The entire first floor of Leavitt becomes transformed with displays and installations that students are responsible for creating. It may appear that everything runs smoothly but a great deal of hard work and determination goes into the event. Though not alone in this endeavor, teaching students how to mat, create artist statements, tags, and create their own installation is exhausting but the final product of walking through the halls on the night of Arts Gala continues to be an amazing and proud experience.

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

Have fun in what you do. Students are so receptive to whether their teachers are passionate about what they teach. It is important that the passion we have for the arts comes through on a normal basis. When they see how passionate and excited we as teachers are for the arts, that enthusiasm will spill over to them too.

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

If I were to be given $5000,000 I would probably spend half of it to pay off all of my existing debt and take time to travel with my family. The remaining amount of money, I would really like to see set in a trust to be given out to students so they can have opportunities for art experiences outside a school classroom like camps, college classes, or intense studies.

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

By 94, I hope that I have few regrets. Like many things, time is my issue. I hope to travel more but I know that I need to take the time to do so. I want to see more masters work in person and be able to see more of the world, and to do so I need to travel. It is something I love to do, and I need to make the time for it to happen.

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