Teaching is a form of design—the design of experience. I believe that it’s possible to teach a person to be creative and that creativity can grow and improve with practice. One of the benefits of an art education is the introduction of the principles of design thinking to the students: understanding that questions frequently have multiple answers, that there are many ways to see and interpret the world, and that small changes can have huge effects.
My cross-disciplinary work in the arts gives me a unique approach to teaching. My qualifications include my experience, MFA, and personal practice, but most relevant is my ability to teach in a way that energizes a classroom. My projects are intended to improve skills, create a portfolio of work, and foster critical-thinking—I guide students without providing answers. I am aware of multiple learning styles and strive to create a classroom environment where students are seen and met where they are. My high expectations are matched with a realistic and empathetic understanding of the individual.
In the classroom, I value both thinking and making as art practices. My assignments are a mix of personal and professional-style work, individual and collaborative assignments, and long and short-term projects. My philosophy is realized in practice by: creating problem-based projects and teaching the skills and techniques needed to achieve the students’ artistic goals; modelling craft and meticulous making; introducing students to the idea of visual and critical analysis, both in regard to their own work and that of their classmates; and discussing students’ work from many angles, pulling from my knowledge of art history, the humanities, visual culture, and graphic arts.
It’s important to me that I create interesting and unique projects. I feel that the largest hurdle for high-school students in the arts is how to find relevant content, which is an essential part of my philosophy that successful art occurs when form and content are well-matched.
The act of teaching is an exchange. I love graphic arts and visual design and I value the opportunity to share my enthusiasm and knowledge. The students’ job is to unpack, think, process, practice, and review the lessons, then return them to me with their particular take on what I’ve taught. It can be life-changing to find a way to be creative in the world, and my goal as a teacher is to facilitate that discovery.