Original Art by Robyn Thompson

Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about CREATING yourself.

Teaching Philosophy Statement

    I am passionate about art, multiculturalism, diversity and equity in education.  I am concerned with bridging disciplines through the arts and making sure that every studentís voice is heard and validated. The arts are a great vehicle to empower students by building confidence, allowing exploration, and building problem-solving skills.  Art helps foster creative thinking, cultural and visual literacy, which is important today in a global society.  The points that I am most passionate about in regards to teaching are process versus product, the value of teaching life skills, student centered education, and the importance of differentiated instruction.
    A finished product created by one of my students is extremely important in my assessment of that studentís work.  However the actual process is just as important in measuring and assessing a studentís progress.  By evaluating sketches, preliminary work, such as brainstorming activities I can see if there is any development of the studentís understanding.  In order for me to be able to witness a studentís growth I include process-orientated activities within lesson and unit plans.  I have used activities such as journal/sketch books and worksheets with guiding questions and brainstorming activities.  By assessing these activities I am able to address any problems or guide a student so that they are successful.  It is my job as a teacher to make sure that my students are thriving and engaged.  I want to create life-long active learners and inquisitive students.  I believe one way to accomplish this is by emphasizing process and helping students to feel successful by not solely judging their ďartisticĒ skills, but their growth and development.
    It is important for me to make sure students are learning life skills, things such as, respect, compassion, problem solving, visual literacy, and appreciation and understanding of other cultures that will help them to develop into well-rounded caring adults.  Some of the ways I have addressed these skills is by modeling caring, respectful behavior toward the students and toward other faculty members.  Students pick up on a teacherís behavior and in my experience try to emulate those they respect.  Other ways I have tried to address some of the life skills I feel are important and necessary are through my unit plans.  I have created lesson that address issues surrounding culture and identity and examine symbols and stereotypes.  Through my modeling of those behaviors I feel are important and inclusion of lessons with ďhiddenĒ curriculum also addressing important life skills I hope to cultivate socially adept, compassionate students.
    I allow choices and cultivate a student-centered classroom because I believe it is critical for students to be active participants in their educational journey.  I encourage students to find their own unique artistic voice by allowing free exploration of different mediums or working on a topic that they are passionate about.  If a student believes his or her voice is heard he or she will more likely feel engaged and interested in what I am teaching.
    Another way I engage students is by addressing the studentís individual needs.  Not every student is the same nor do they learn in the same manner.  One student may be a kinesthetic learner while another is a visual learner.  It is my job as a teacher to understand my students and address their needs so that they are successful.  I observe studentís behaviors and make notes, so that I can compile profiles to better understand how they work best.  With this knowledge I can adjust a lesson or make accommodations for any students that needs it.  It is important to differentiate instruction for the benefit of all learning styles and preferences that may be in one classroom.
    I have and will continue to work hard for my students.  I believe that my learning is not and will never be finished.  I will always remain a life long learner and stay current in my field of art education in order to serve my students to the best of my ability.  I plan to work diligently on my own artistic endeavors and continue to further my own education.  I want my students to always grow and learn as both students and artists; therefore I will set the example myself.