The Emerging Art Educator
I am in the midst of finishing up my second student teaching placement and transitioning into the real world of art education. I have learned a lot from my time at the Maryland Institute College of Art. I know that I will carry with me the advice and mentorship I have received from my colleagues, my professors, my cooperating teachers, and my students. I hope to offer some insight about what being an emerging art educator means and why it is important to find your own voice in this profession. How do you now make use of this toolbox you have created in a way that supports your personal pedagogy? I am only beginning to answer this question. Over the next month I want to highlight some of the miraculous learning environments and teaching moments that I have witnessed, and the ways in which they have inspired my approach to teaching.
I want to start off by highlighting a simple moment I witnessed while observing a kindergarten class in Baltimore City. A group of students noticed a cricket on the floor and crawled under the table to look at it. Instead of reprimanding the students for being on the floor when the teacher came over she asked them “what do you see?” The students pointed to the cricket. The teacher then took advantage of this moment. She obtained four magnifying glasses and crawled under the table with them to examine it. This simple moment has taught me a great deal about assumptions, and the importance of harnessing student curiosity. Maria Montessori once said, “Respect all the reasonable forms of activity in which the child engages and try to understand them.”
The concept has allowed me to develop a greater understanding of the children I work with, and how they reach those pivotal moments of comprehension. I have noticed how aiding students to answer their own questions leads to not only deeper engagement, but also greater retention. Art making is full of discoveries, and there is no greater reward then helping students make them.
-Sarah K. Damiano