Posts Tagged ‘Hancock County teacher of the year’

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Congratulations Sarah

May 25, 2021

Hancock County Teacher of the Year Sarah Doremus

The Maine Teacher of the Year process is extensive which includes writing, interviewing, and sharing about what is most important to teachers. It provides an opportunity for teachers to consider every aspect of the details of teaching. The 2021 county teachers of the year were recently announced and art teacher Sarah Doremus was named the Hancock Teacher of the Year. Sarah, along with the other 15 county teachers are eligible for the 2022 Maine State Teacher of the Year. Maine Teacher of the Year is a program of the Department of Education and is administered by Educate Maine.

Sarah teaches at Sedgwick Elementary School and recently provided her story in an interview for the Maine Arts Education blog. I’m sure you’ll join me in congratulating Sarah and once you read this will understand why Sarah was selected. Included in this post are amazing examples of student work as well as Sarah’s own art. I’m so proud that an arts teacher has been selected and I know that Sarah will represent us well in her role.

WHY SARAH LOVES TEACHING

I love the fact that it is different every day. I love that I work with little people who have yet to see limitations in what they can do and are eager to try anything. I love that my job allows me to make a living doing what I love to do.

Making trophies – “Loan Shark”

TEACHING STORY

One of my favorite stories was a decade in the making. My first teaching position was in Massachusetts at an alternative middle school for kids who had a difficult time mainstreaming into public school. I taught jewelry and had a student who was fascinated with metal, fabrication and design. He took every art class offered and I was able to hire him as a work study (a practice common at the school). When he graduated he applied for and got accepted at Mass College of Art (my alma mater). After graduation he went to UMASS Dartmouth and earned his MFA in metals. I teach adult learners at a jewelry school outside of Boston and during his training in college he served as a Teaching Assistant for me. Recently I took a class at the school taught by him. I love this story because it is an example of “teaching full circle”. I taught him and now he is teaching me!  

I realize where I teach now (elementary school) I learn as much from my students, if not more, as they learn from me. Student interest and curiosity informs our curriculum development. Our school works to integrate curriculum between subjects. 

Voodoo dolls of the teachers and staff

STEM/STEAM CONNECTION

There is a connection to STEM and that is STEAM. Which includes art in the equation (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math). My own art work addresses a wide range of subjects; from phobias to politics. My work is narrative so I want there to be a message which also works well with my teaching. I like using what the students are learning in their other classes to inform what we do in art. Having an added class of STEAM allows for even more integration.

  • Example 1: Students made whirligigs that represent non-violent world leaders and displayed them in front of the school. In science class they were studying force and motion and in social studies class they were studying civil rights leaders. It made sense for them to use what they were learning in other classes to create a whirligig installation.
  • Example 2: Students learned about plastic pollution and its effect on our ocean (many of our students have parents who make their living by fishing). We teamed with Haystack Fablab to teach the students  Scratch (a coding program) which they used to tell a story about the problem. We teamed with Alison Chase Dance Company to create a performance piece about ocean plastics and had scheduled an environmental artist from North Carolina to come up to create a pot warp (lobster bait rope) sculpture with the school and community. (Unfortunately Covid tabled the plan.) 
  • Example 3: Learning about what challenges face those who are differently abled we invited a blind alumnus to talk about braille and made copper braille alphabet plaques. We cast student hands in American sign language. Both were exhibited in our school lobby. 
  • Example 4: We invited a naturalist to come to talk to students about our vernal pool and right now I am preparing a class to investigate the caddisfly- Nature’s Engineers. The larval stage builds cases around themselves out of the detritis from pool floor for protection. At the conclusion of our study students will be asked to become caddisfly larvae and will use strips of cardboard, twine and egg cartons to build a larvae case around themselves. As much as possible I try to bring the community into the school to share their expertise. What we teach in school is so greatly enriched by having those that DO what we teach come and tell about it.
Cast hands in American Sign Language

TEACHER OF THE YEAR PROCESS

It is weird to be talking so much publicly about what I do in the classroom and at first I was a little embarrassed and shy but then I thought this could be a platform to advocate for what I believe in: project based learning and curriculum integration. I watched a Netflix show titled Abstract About Artists, Designers, Etc. and one episode was featuring a toy designer. She created these amazing toys and talked about a Chinese School where a new method of learning was being tried. It’s called Anji Play, where students are given building materials and set loose to explore, invent and create. It was fabulous! That probably would not fly in American public schools yet but I would like to see more inventive approaches to education. The Teacher of the Year process allows one to talk to other teachers and share new ideas and learn from the ideas of others. We don’t get much of that in our day to day teaching.

Solar cars

BECOMING AN ART TEACHER

I never intended to be a teacher. I don’t really think I ever knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. First, a nun, after watching “The Sound of Music” but then a firefighter. My career seemed to hop around like that until I started teaching at Sedgwick. I never could decide because there are so many options. I started college as a nursing major switched to chemistry and ended up with a BS in Art History. I got my Masters in Environmental Studies and went back to college and got a BA in Fine Arts. I started teaching when a friend  on the school board suggested I apply.  Initially I thought I would rather gnaw my arm off then work with little kids all day but summers off and health insurance were really appealing and I thought it could be a fun challenge. Now I can’t think of anything I would rather do. I have a very understanding wife and we have 3 amazing grown kids. We live with 2 dogs on Deer Isle up a mile long dirt driveway where I have a studio

empusta ugitfa or tempus fugit or time flies – Kinetic ring

ARTIST STATEMENT

As a sculptor, I work with my hands and in all honesty I think with my hands too. The texture, density, consistency and malleability of a material are its language and that language is what I find rewarding in the use of mixed media. I look to the inherent qualities of a material and try to manipulate them to my end.

I like to use my work to create a sort of tongue in cheek play on the human condition. Using words, puns or expressions in combination with physical representation of form I want to poke fun at our collective angst-ridden human condition: Not to minimize or diminish its impact but rather put it in perspective and by doing so remove the perceived anxiety; Basically, to render it impotent.

Most recently I have been interested in kinetic art especially kinetic jewelry. My work suggests sculpture that is ostensibly meant to be worn. Using found objects, doll parts and metal I make small scale pieces that are intended to comment on body adornment and ornamentation, both functional and otherwise. I’ve noticed that cell phones, and personal electronic equipment have become so commonplace that they are taking on the mantle of jewelry; jewelry that has a function and perceived necessity. My work questions this norm by functioning in a way that is both absurd and completely unnecessary.

 Barbie meets Sisyphus – Kinetic ring
 Hands up, don’t shoot
Fur lined wedding rings

Thank you Sarah for taking the time to share your amazing story. Sarah can be reached at sdoremus@sedgwickschool.org.

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YAHOOO for Arts Educators!

May 14, 2021

Congratulations art teacher Sarah Doremus

Sedgwick Elementary School art teacher Sarah Doremus has been named Hancock County’s Teacher of the Year.

Sarah Doremus

I’m sure you’ll join me in congratulating Sarah for representing her school and arts education in her role as Hancock County Teacher of the Year. Sarah will be considered for the Maine Teacher of the Year for 2022. Sarah has been teaching for 9 years, grades PreK-8 and was nominated by her principal Carla Magoon who said:

Sarah is one of the most energetic and enthusiastic teachers I have had the honor to work with. She is excited about learning and helps her students to become excited right along with her. She spends incredible amounts of her own time and money to plan activities where the students will be engaged and have fun while they are learning. She works with all the other teachers in the school to create integrated Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) lessons that are aligned to their curriculum and the standards that the students are working on. She is always ready to help with any special ideas like Maine Day, or Screen-Free Week, and she finds community resources, such as local artists and places where students can get first-hand knowledge. Sarah also partners with community organizations such as Haystack and Blue Hill Heritage Trust to bring opportunities that otherwise our students would not have, such as using a laser cutter, or screen printing. She always goes above and beyond and her love for learning and for her students is always at the forefront of everything she does.

As part of the Maine Teacher of the Year Program, hundreds of teachers across Maine are nominated by a member of their school community. Through a rigorous application process, one teacher from each county is selected as the county Teacher of the Year by a panel of teachers, principals and business community members within the county.

Below is the YouTube video of the county teacher of the year announcement. During the ceremony, held earlier this week, Emily Paruk, Maine’s 2021 Poetry Out Loud champ recited an original poem appreciating teachers. You’ll find this at the 20 minute mark.

The Teacher of the Year program is organized by Educate Maine. Learn more about the program at THIS LINK.

Read the article in The Ellsworth American about Sarah.

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