One Day,

I hope for all learners to be accepting of one another and to be appreciative of the world of art…

Creativity takes courage

What is your educational background?

I am currently a senior at Indiana University of Pennsylvania(IUP). I am double majoring with a focus in Art Education and Studio Art.

What or who inspired you to become an educator?

To be honest, I never had a big dream of growing up and becoming an educator. All of my elementary teachers would say that I would be a great teacher when I was older, but I never believed any of them. Eventually, my personality drove me into the field of education. I have always been compassionate, helpful, and determined. These traits naturally lead me to help others when I see them struggling whether it be academically, physically, or emotionally. I entered the field of art education with a strong love for creating art. At first, I was unsure of the education part of my degree until I met other people who had the same aspirations as myself. I felt recognized and understood by the professors and fellow students. Being surrounded by other art educators and experiencing what it would be like to teach art solidified my choice of becoming an art teacher. As I am entering my final semester of student teaching, I am proud of myself for finding a career that I am passionate about and I hope to help my future students to find their dream jobs whether it be educator related or not.

What is your current role? What other roles have you had in the sphere of education?

I am a preservice art educator about to enter my student teaching experience. I also co-teach at an after school art program for a small group of PreK - 2 learners. In the past, I have taught with SQUAD Art Studio, which is a community-based early childhood art studio program working collaboratively with a local gallery. With SQUAD, I taught process-based and technology-infused art experiences for young children monthly. I have also facilitated art therapy experiences for adult residents at the Indiana Hospital.

Why are you still in the field of education?

I have always had a love for making and viewing art. I use it as a form of self expression as well as experimentation. I want to share my love of art with young learners and help them understand what art can do for them. Art impacts everybody whether they realize it or not. No matter what profession or hobbies people have, elements of art are always influential. I also love seeing young learners explore and create unique pieces. It warms my heart to see their creative energy flow as well as hear conversations about their art making abilities.

What injustices or inequalities do you see within the walls of your own school? What changes can you make to shift the field towards equity and justice?

I have seen a lot of bullying in schools simply for being different. There is nothing wrong with being different and there is no exact “normal”. Young learners can often say or do rude things to their peers and it can seriously affect them. To be more accepting of differences, I will use a diverse range of artist and artwork examples to be representative of all. By doing so, students are more likely to discover an artist or artwork that they can identify with and feel accepted in the world of art. Representation across cultures, languages, countries, abilities, gender, sex, age, etc., opens students to a broad spectrum of art and engages more learners in art. No learner should feel like an outsider and even though I can’t quite change what their peers say, I can and will do my best to create a positive inclusive learning atmosphere.

One day what do you hope for?

One day I hope for all learners to be accepting of one another and to be appreciative of the world of art.We are all different and our differences make us unique. One person’s path will not be the same as another person’s path and that is perfectly okay. Art has also been viewed as a secondary subject for years even when countless studies demonstrate how art improves work ethic and creative problem solving. Art makes up so much of the world around us without even realizing it. Without arts education, society would be boring and colorless. Simply appreciating arts education as well as accepting people’s differences can allow us to make deep meaningful connections with others and society will be filled with happiness.