Creating this learning manifesto has forced me to do a lot of soul searching and deep thinking about what I do, how I do it, and if the way that I am currently doing things is working or not. I had to ask myself, “Is my way of doing things working?”, “How can I improve them?”, and most importantly, “How can I interject more technology in m y curriculum?”. I have always been interested in creating art. Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to make a living and raise a family selling artwork. Once I figured this out, I knew I had to come up with something else to do so I could still involve art in my life, and be creative in the fine arts field. That is when I turned to teaching. Not only does this field allow me to create my own artwork, but it also gives me the opportunity to share with others what I know, and help young children embrace their creativity while teaching them ways to express themselves through art. It is extremely rewarding to have a student who never knew that they could draw or paint come in my classroom and within a few weeks or months, see them creating pieces of art that they are proud of, getting into art shows, and winning awards. I feel like I have been successful as a teacher when my students excel. When my students are doing well, and they are accomplishing goals, I feel like that is also an accomplishment for me as their teacher.
I am extremely passionate about art, producing art, teaching art, and seeing the way art is evolving in education. In every high school throughout the state of Texas, and many other areas, students must complete some form of Fine Arts credit to be eligible to graduate. Being primarily a constructivist art teacher, I allow my students a large amount of freedom to create their work. I allow them to complete their assignments how they want to do them, not exactly how I want them done, or how I would do it. I introduce techniques and practices to them, and I let them “go with it”. Allowing my students the freedom to be creative has worked out very well for me over the years. The bottom line to my philosophy of teaching is: I teach my students the basic elements of art, and then I just facilitate through their creative process and remain available to offer help when needed, answer questions, and sometimes offer suggestions and advice along the way.
There are changes coming about. I see a change in what my students are needing. Something is missing on my end. I am working on changing my philosophy of teaching to adjust to my students’ needs. I am currently incorporating very little technology in the classroom, and I am aware that the students of today yearn for more and more technology in their learning process.
Digital technology within the classroom opens up many doors for students. It allows them to create in ways that no one ever knew there could be.
My struggle with incorporating technology is not that I do not want it or think we need it, but because I am not comfortable with it. I do not feel like I know enough about digital technology tools to help my students or pass anything along to them that would be beneficial to their learning process. This is where I feel like I am not up to par as a teacher, but I am working to get myself where I need to be while going through this digital learning and leading program.
While reflecting back over the past few years, there have been several students who have come to me and specifically asked to create some sort of digital art. Whether it be something simple such as a piece on a paint program, or something on PhotoShop, or some other photo editing software. We have always managed to struggle through it, but I was not comfortable teaching it at all because I do not know enough about technology to do so. I like the idea of using technology, and I want my students to have the opportunity to create digital art. I first need to make some changes within myself, before I can start helping my students reach their full potential and my ultimate goal, which is incorporating technology in my daily lesson plans. I would like to develop a select few areas of digital expertise to use within my classroom, while I work on broadening my horizons over time. I have already started this process and have learned several tools that will be useful to me and my students. I will always teach the basics of art, and the “old school” pencil and paper techniques, but now I am looking forwarded to incorporating technology into my lessons whenever I can, and learning and growing within this program as a digital leader.