Monthly Mentor

Holly Houston (March)
Each month, a different member and NAEA awardee is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Houston is the Visual and Performing Arts Learning Area Leader at Yarmouth High School in Yarmouth, Maine. A National Board Certified Teacher, she loves to get her hands messy with her own art and is truly passionate about instilling a love of making art in her students. Click "GO" to read her full bio.

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December 11, 2018

We Are Life Long Learners

By Shelly Breaux

Today was a day of celebration. The day started with brunch celebrating Ben getting his first teaching job and ending with a shower for Trinity who is about to welcome her baby boy into this world. What does this have to do with Art Education?

In the state of Louisiana, students entering Education must complete an internship. Our local University reaches out to teachers asking us to mentor these students as they finish up their last semester of college. These students are about to become our colleagues. These students are taking our classrooms when we retire. These students share the same passion as we do.

Picture1Trinity did her student teaching with me in 2014.

Picture2Ben did his student teaching with me in 2017.

I became a mentor teacher my first-year teaching. You read that right! MY FIRST YEAR! When asked by “My Mentor” I immediately thought she had lost her mind. It’s my first year, I don’t know what I am doing, but I did it. I learned so much from that experience that I have had a student teacher every year since.

I have heard several reasons why others don’t want to have a student teacher.

Here are some reasons why you DO want to take in a Preservice Art Education Major.

Extra Eyes, Ears and Hands

My students benefit from me having extra help in the classroom. With two of us, we get to spend more one on one time with students. We can divide and conquer. I can focus on a task and not have to worry of taking my eyes off “little Johnny.

Reflecting on Your Own Practice

If I am going to be sharing my space, that means I am going to be sharing my thought process. Student teachers are the best “students”. They are eager to learn. As I am sharing my procedures, I am sharing my “why”. As I am sharing my lessons, I am sharing my “why”. Although we are highly reflecting professionals to begin with, this process really forces me to really think about my “why”.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

I treat my student teachers as my equal. I build them up to be ready to take on my classes solo by starting with us teaching together. Team teaching is a great way to get them in the front lines. Team teaching is a great way for my students to learn to go to them. Team teaching helps make sure they are getting a hands-on experience of what it is really like to be a teacher.

Giving Back

As I stated in a previous blog, we constantly have to defend our role in education. Opening our door to the “next” art teacher is another way of advocating for art education. If we are not being a part of preparing the “next” then we are not being a part of helping build the Art Education Community.

I often tell my students teachers, in this experience you will either learn things you want to take with you or things you will never do.  Either way, you are learning.

Till Next Time….Give Back!

- SB

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