Monthly Mentor

Jen Holsinger-Raybourn (December)
Each month, a different member and NAEA awardee is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Jen Holsinger-Raybourn, now in her 16th year in arts education, began her career in Museum Education and has taught K-12 Visual Arts in both private and public schools. Jen serves as a mentor to the 2019 NAEA School for Art Leaders as well as the Elementary Division Chair for the Texas Art Education Association. Click "GO" to read her full bio.

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« Always Growing | Main | Know Your Worth »

November 13, 2019

Start with Joy

By Mary Weimer Green

Before I became a teacher, I believed that teaching was an elusive art. I believed that only a few could be truly good teachers and fewer still really understood the lingo and could implement effectively the practices. Over the time that I've been teaching, I have found that I was merely complicating things. Any teacher can be a good teacher by keeping three important points in mind. For me, the three keys to successful teaching are Joy, Empathy and of course, Excellence. These three simple overarching themes have kept me on task and given me focus so that I can continually improve my professional practice. They're all of equal importance and each speaks specifically to a different part of the instructional experience.

In the coming blog posts, I'd like to explore how each of these points can be practically implemented in the art room.

To begin with, joy is desperately needed in all education. Without joy, without enthusiasm for learning, it is impossible for the teacher to convey a concept or for the students to retain information. In serving as a mentor and coach to my students I continually try to find new ways to merge my enthusiasm for my subject into creative and fun lessons that will engage the students and teach them deeper concepts. When I am enthusiastic my students are enthusiastic and we all learn from each other. As an art teacher, it is my job to convey a love of my subject that will hopefully inspire the students to remain involved with the arts whether for pleasure or as their profession.

So, my first suggestion is a simple one. Think of it as self-care. Find something that brings you joy. Something that excites you. This can be a partnership with a local arts organization, an opportunity to exhibit in an unconventional space, or bringing a medium that you just learned how to use into your lesson. Then do it. Go all in! The enthusiasm that you have for that new experience will catch on with your class like wildfire, as you learn along with your students.

-MWG

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