My Teaching Experience
Student teaching seemed to go by in the blink of an eye! Both schools I student taught at offered a wide range of art experiences for students with a focus on specific learning targets that varied lesson to lesson. I was given a lot of freedom with what lessons I taught giving me an opportunity to put my own ideas into practice as well as improve on my lessons. At the high school level, I took the reigns right away and taught the entire semester of pottery. While we couldn't do as many lessons as I would like due to remote learning, I enjoyed creating relationships with the students and helping them navigate pottery online. At the elementary level, I was able to experience both in-person and remote learning. This experience was very enriching for me and I was able to teach numerous lessons using a lot of different mediums and techniques. I was surprised at how flexible younger students could be when it came to remote art classes! My biggest take away from my experience at Fort Collins High School was how important it is to communicate with the students and make sure they're hanging in there. Losing the social aspect of school is tough for this group of students. They need a lot of encouragement and support! My take away from elementary is the importance of offering freedom and flexibility in the art classroom so that students can make discoveries and make art they are excited about. Throughout student teaching there were a ton of ups and downs but the ups reminded me of why I want to be a teacher and invigorated my passion for teaching art. I want to be an art teacher that creates lessons my students never forget, advocates for the arts in my community and inspires students to be the best artists they can be!
Teacher Quality Standard 1
"Teachers demonstrate mastery of and pedagogical expertise in the content they teach"
ELEMENT A: Teachers provide instruction that is aligned with the Colorado Academic Standards, their District’s organized plan of instruction, and the individual needs of their students.
Every lesson implemented in the art classroom should hit all 4 standards. The standards assure that students are getting a well-rounded learning experience. It helps students develop their artistic thinking and behaviors. For the elementary lesson, "Winter Veggie Still Lifes", students learned about drawing a still life from observation, recalled and applied previously learned watercolor techniques to their own still life drawings, then reflected on their art in an online video recording.
ELEMENT B: Teachers develop and implement lessons that connect to a variety of content areas/disciplines and emphasize literacy and mathematical practices.
Connecting other disciplines in the art classroom not only allows students to transfer their knowledge into multiple content areas, it helps them understand the WHY in what we learn. Students often ask, "why are we learning this?". When they can see the connection between disciplines it sheds light on how all of our learning connects and why it is important. For this pottery lesson I ask students to recall a story and write it out as well and consider their measurements for their clay pieces.
ELEMENT C: Teachers demonstrate knowledge of the content, central concepts, disciplinary inquiry, appropriate evidence-based instructional practices and specialized characteristics of the disciplines being taught.
An important aspect of teaching art is demonstrating the necessary techniques while using the vocabulary that connects to the tools and art materials being used. It's also often important that the art teacher tries the project beforehand in order to foresee any issues or concerns that students could come across during the creative process. I used these videos as a demo during online learning that students could refer back to as they needed.
I feel accomplished in Teacher Quality Standard 1. The wide variety of art classes I took at CSU as well as my interest in many mediums has prepared me to implement lessons using a wide variety of materials and techniques assuring that my students will get the best experience possible! I am able to put forth lessons that are clear, concise and provide choice to students all while teaching important vocabulary and learning targets that every artist should know. To continue being strong in the standard, I want to not only continue to make my own art, I would also like to continue seeking new ideas for art projects and lessons that will push me outside of my comfort zone so I can consistently provide the best art experiences to my students.
Teacher Quality Standard 2
"Teachers establish a safe, inclusive and respectful learning environment for a diverse population of students"
ELEMENT A: Teachers foster a predictable learning environment characterized by acceptable student behavior and efficient use of time in which each student has a positive, nurturing relationship with caring adults and peers.
Part of fostering a predictable learning environment is consistency. To provide this to my students, I would keep similar formats for assignments as well as provide examples I created. This assures students know what to expect and what is expected from them.
ELEMENT B: Teachers demonstrate an awareness of, and commitment to, and a respect for multiple aspects of diversity, while working towards common goals as a community of learners.
Representing diverse artists in my lessons has always been important. Whether it's artists of various race or gender, it's important that students see a wide range of artist examples represented in the art classroom. These examples are some of the lessons I taught to elementary students where POC and women were my artist examples as oppose to the typical cis white men we see so often when looking at art and art history.
ELEMENT C: Teachers engage students as individuals, including those with diverse needs and interests, across a range of ability levels by adapting the teaching for the benefit of all students.
Every student has their own story and way of thinking, this means they learn in their own, unique way. Not only do teachers needs to consider these individual mindsets, they also need to consider their students with disabilities. When creating a lesson I always consider what challenges students could come across and how I can make my lessons accessible to them. It's also important to consider those students who aren't being challenged enough and need to be pushed to get the most out of a lesson. These examples from my lesson plans demonstrate the simple yet powerful ways I can empower my students so they can be successful in their work whether that is an option to make things easier and more accesable to my disabled students or options to push projects further for gifted students.
ELEMENT D: Teachers work with families and/or significant adults in the lives of their students.
Involving parents of students is crucial in building a community that nurtures student learning and growth. Parents often don't get to see the inner working of a school or understand what their students are learning while in the classroom. This year I am asking all of the students in 3rd and 4th grade at CLPE to collaborate on a Colorado Flag Collage that will hang in the Colorado Room in Oldtown, Fort Collins and I will be welcoming parents and students to go support their local businesses and see the art their students made!
Teacher Quality Standard 2 is another area I feel accomplished in. While lesson planning I think about how I can engage all types of learners and keep my students individual needs in mind. I also strive to create consistency in how I deliver lessons and the work I ask for so students aren't left frustrated and confused. Routines, clear expectations and consistency are all things that help students feel comfortable in the classroom and lend to their success in the long run. I am a very empathetic person and think this is one of the moral values that makes me destined to be an educator. Students are human beings like everyone else and deserve to be heard, understood and accepted in the classroom.
Teacher Quality Standard 3
"Teachers plan and deliver effective instruction and create an environment that facilitates learning for their students"
ELEMENT A: Teachers demonstrate knowledge about the ways in which learning takes place, including the levels of intellectual, physical, social and emotional development of their students.
Making sure we are thoughtful about our students emotional well-being is essential to being an empathetic educator and ensures that each of our students needs are being met. In light of the pandemic, many students were stressed and felt left behind in the online classroom. To assure this didn't happen to my students, I created a questionnaire at the beginning of the semester that each student filled out for an easy grade. I read every single one and took notes on my rosters of what concerns and situations my students were in so I could keep them in mind when implementing lessons and keeping students involved in their education. It was crucial to show them grace and try to understand their individual situations.
ELEMENT B: Teachers use formal and informal methods to assess student learning, provide feedback and use results to inform planning and instruction.
Assessing student learning formally and informally insures that my lessons are successful and that my students are learning the intended information I am giving them. Here is a rubric I created for a ceramic project I gave students at Fort Collins High School.
ELEMENT C: Teachers integrate and utilize appropriate available technology to engage students in authentic learning experiences.
Integrating technology into my teaching has become more important than ever since the start of remote learning. Here is an example of a 2-part demonstration I made for a coiled pot lesson I gave to high school students.
ELEMENT D: Teachers establish and communicate high expectations and use processes to support the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Problem-solving and self advocacy has become more important than ever with online learning. In order to insure that my pottery students were working on time and hitting expectations I asked for process photos along the way as well as asked them to describe what was going well for them and what wasn't working. This way I could provide them the support they needed to succeed. This is an example of a student worksheet I had students fill out so I could check their progress.
ELEMENT E: Teachers provide students with opportunities to work in teams and develop leadership.
Giving students the reigns in the classroom and allowing them to work in leadership roles and in teams creates deeper learning. During my still life lesson while in-person, students set up their own still lifes at their tables that they drew from observation. There were two students at each table that had to share one still life they would both draw from. One student had the role of setting up the still life and touching the object while the other verbally communicated their opinions on what they wanted it to look like. Not only did this promote teamwork, it also kept students from spreading germs! Here are some examples of the in-progress paintings students made from their team-built still lifes.
ELEMENT F: Teachers model and promote effective communication.
Effective communication is vital to teaching and even more so with remote learning. In order to clearly communicate with students on what my expectations for assignments were, I always included learning targets/ project expectations on every slideshow I presented to students whether that was at the primary or secondary levels. I also made sure students were able to access these materials at all times.
Teacher Quality Standard 3 is an area I am proficient in. I only say this because it's an area that always has a lot of room for growth and needs to constantly be updated within a teachers mind in order to best suit the needs of current students. There are so many ways of delivering assessments, new technology being introduced, leadership and team opportunities etc. Seeking these out is part of an educators life-long career journey. It's the area in which teachers are "forever students" with more to learn every year. When it comes to communication, it is one of my core values in life and this shows in my teaching. Whether it is with students, staff or parents, it's vital to communicate whatever is needed in order for students to be happy and successful.
Teacher Quality Standard 4
"Teachers demonstrate professionalism through ethical conduct, reflection, and leadership."
ELEMENT A: Teachers demonstrate high standards for professional conduct.
Part of practicing professionalism in teaching is reflecting on lessons in order to improve them to better suit the needs of students. Taking accountability and holding ourselves to the highest standard of what we can do to be better educators insures we are doing our best and striving for excellence. Reflecting on our flaws and taking time to improve on them makes us better leaders and better teachers. At the end of all of my lessons I did a short reflection on what went well and what I could improve on in the future. Here is an example of a reflection I wrote for a lesson that many students struggled with that outlines what I would do differently when and if I choose to teach it again.
ELEMENT B: Teachers link professional growth to their professional goals.
Part of growing professionally as a teacher is working with your fellow teachers, department and or admin for the better of the school, students and community as a whole. Regularly attending meetings to discuss how to reach these goals is crucial in assuring I am doing my best as an educator and that I'm continually goal setting in order to do and be my best. During student teaching I attended numerous department meetings, staff meetings and meetings between art departments at other schools. Here is an example of a slide I filled out during a staff meeting at CLPE where the principal asked us to share the silver linings we found among the stress of remote learning during a pandemic.
ELEMENT C: Teachers respond to a complex, dynamic environment.
Part of teaching that was crucial during the pandemic was flexibility and the ability to jump in and out of remote learning at a moments notice. To accommodate this, when making lessons I prepped materials and resources for online as well as in person learning. For example, one lesson I ended up teaching online and in person required that students have a still life to draw from. When we were in person, students created their own still life set ups using plastic fruits and veggies in bowls I provided. Once we switched to online learning, I created slides with numerous still life examples I created that students could choose from so they had a somewhat similar experience in choices like the in person students did. Here are some of those still life choices I created!
ELEMENT D: Teachers demonstrate leadership in the school, the community, and the teaching profession.
A fun way I was able to demonstrate leadership at CLPE and their community was by writing the December 2020 Newsletter that is shared with all staff members and parents. It was a good way to introduce myself as well as what I was teaching in the art classroom.
I am accomplished in Teacher Quality Standard 4 because of my passion and commitment to the teaching profession which I show through my excitement and willingness to do what needs done in the classroom and school community as a whole. I see the importance of constantly pushing myself to be the best educator I can be as well as the importance of advocating for the arts in my community and keeping art alive in schools. Flexibility was one of my biggest takeaways from student teaching as the classroom is a complex and dynamic environment. If I wasn't flexible with my lessons and my students it would only lead to frustration for all of us and would hinder our learning. Flexibility helps us grow and change as needed and results in more pertinent learning.
Overall, I feel very comfortable in all of the dispositions. Especially in the areas of being an effective communicator and commitment to profession. I take my goals and every challenge I am faced with very seriously. I want to be the best version of myself that I can be and this includes my passion towards education and the arts. I also have a deep passion for learning myself and look forward to the teaching profession in a position as a life long learner. I am extremely organized and think communication is key in being a successful team member and teacher in the school community. I want to continuously be working in the area of cultural responsiveness as it is dynamic and ever-changing. Making myself aware of the world around me is part of what will make me a good educator and ensure the individual needs of my unique students are being met for years to come.