A love for learning keeps me actively engaged as a teacher. “In the beginner’s mind there are many options, in the experts there are few.”- Shunryu Suzuki. The ‘Zen mind’ or ‘beginner’s mind’ is the ability to be open to all possibilities. This type of concentrated effort is how I approach teaching. When I present a certain technique or idea for the first time it is likened to just breaking through the surface. Then I awaken to how deep and vast I can expand this information, when teaching the same topic a second time. Teaching is really a dedication to learning, growing with your students, and being open to absorb new material and advances in your field.
I encourage art students to engage with the material, and know that skills are aquired through many hours of practice. The students are expected to use critical thinking to solve problems and create art using basic technique and experimentation. I enjoy relating ideas to specific moments in art history to show the innovation and continuum of creativity throughout time. Art students are unique because you teach the form and the discipline, and then educate your students to break the rules in a formidable way. The Zen mind is really the best way to push your medium to its limits and never stop.
The students make discoveries and grow creatively in an environment of positive energy and meaningful feedback. I encourage the students to be fearless with self-expression. I pay individual attention to every student equally. I hear their ideas one on one, to better learn and support their efforts. A dynamic classroom atmosphere is created by questions and discussions. This classroom exchange is novel and allows for spontaneous interaction that can complement lesson plans in a fluid way.
Art is necessary for the survival of our species. As an art teacher, I relate art to daily life, giving a sense of the arts as more than just surface decoration. Every object we call art validates are existence and contains clues to its culture within. I know creativity and an open mind to be extremely useful in daily life and that is perhaps just as good a tool as the basics of drawing. I strive to bring an appreciation of art, craft, invention, and imagination to my students as well as the basic skills they will need to excel in the fine arts.