What do you teach at B’nai Shalom?
I teach art to Preschool 3/4 through 8th grade students at B’nai Shalom.
Why do you teach?
I have always had an appreciation and love for art. When I first entered college, I had planned on a Fine Arts degree. I was introduced to all types of media. I felt I could pass on my love and enthusiasm of art to others by teaching. I could work on my own art as well and give my students an appreciation for art. I wanted to give my students the knowledge and the tools to be creative.
Why do you teach at B’nai Shalom?
I have been a part of the Bnai Shalom family for the past 24 years. The minute I interviewed with Susan Cook, the principal in 1990, I knew this was the place for me! The warm, caring, supportive staff was there in the beginning, and it still exists today. We have very dedicated teachers, small classes and more time to interact with students on an individual basis. My classroom is a bright, sunny place for learning and creating. My students eagerly await art class each week with the anticipation of learning new techniques, applying new mediums and learning about art history.
What do you want students to get from having known you?
Art is a way of individual expression and there is no right or wrong way to be creative. As an art teacher, I want my students to feel confident in his or her creations. I encourage my students to carry out his or her projects with knowledge and understanding without being critical. I offer my students projects to encourage higher thinking skills. I never let them give up; I offer suggestions so that they may feel proud of their work.
What is the most important life lessons student will learn from your class?
Art uses the whole brain and students develop a higher order of thinking skills and problem solving when they are creative. Students who participate in art perform better in all fields of study. Art teaches basic concepts on how to accomplish a basic program. Art teaches us to plan, revise, create and judge. These simple steps can be used in all walks of life.
What is the most important life lessons you have learned from your students?
I have learned to be patient. Everyone works at his or her own pace and each person has questions to be answered. I go to each student who needs guidance and help. I have learned that my students enjoy humor, so I try to make art fun as well as meaningful. I also know that everyone is unique with different talents and that all my students can be creative.
How do you teach to the way of a child?
I offer different art media choices for exploration. Some of my students enjoy sculpture while others prefer painting. I demonstrate the use of materials so that they know the correct way to use them. I introduce famous artists and use examples of artists’ styles. Each student has my individual help.
What types of professional development have you completed in the past year?
I am a current member of the National Art Education Association and the North Carolina Art Education Association. I have attended the North Carolina State Art Educators’ workshop almost every year. I have had the opportunity to attend the National Art Education workshop in New York City. During the summer, I take private lessons in drawing, painting, clay and mixed media.
In what ways do you collaborate with other teachers?
I collaborate with all the teachers to integrate art with general studies, science, music and Judaic studies. At the beginning of the year, the general studies teachers give me their curriculums so that I can incorporate art with what the students are learning in their other classes. Art is used in all holiday celebrations and social studies units. I feel that art is an important extension to learning all subjects.