New Student Spotlight: Devin Schuyler, Art Education MAT Cohort 21

New Student Spotlight: Devin Schuyler, Art Education MAT Cohort 21

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The new Art Education MAT Cohort is here! I thought it would be a great idea to pick the brains of a few and find out why they chose Columbia, what their future plans are, and what they think about being a teacher. It’s been an interesting week to be a teacher in Chicago to say the least! For my first New Student Spotlight, as I’ll be calling them, I interviewed Devin Schuyler, a new Cohort 21 member. Read on!

Tell me about yourself.

I originally hail from the D.C. metropolitan area (born in DC, raised in Bethesda, Maryland). I love the east coast and was so lucky to be exposed to the amazing crossroads of history and culture you find in and around DC. City life? You got it! Mountains, oceans, and nature? Sure thing! Politics? Check. Diversity? Check! When I was 18, I decided I needed a new city to sink my teeth into, and I’ve been in Chicago ever since. I received my bachelors in Film & Video here at Columbia College Chicago and came back for my first MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts & Media a couple years later. Now I’m back again (obviously, I like Columbia as a school) to get my MAT in Art Education (K-12)!

Why do you want to be a teacher?

I am sure you hear this all the time, but I have always wanted to be a teacher. For a while, I thought I wanted to teach in a university setting (thus my first masters), but I realized that I wanted to have more time with each of my students and offer them the help, support, and consideration that I had received in my formative years. I’ve had amazing teachers in the past, and I feel that without them, I would not be able to do all that I can today. I want to give that back to future generations and keep the positive cycle of growth through learning alive and well!

Where do you see yourself teaching?

I’ve always been a city girl and believe I always will be. That said, my goal is to stay in a large city (I definitely have my sights set on staying here in Chicago for a while) but wouldn’t mind taking on a new city if the opportunity arose.

What made you decide to come to Columbia?

As I said, I’ve attended Columbia twice before, and think that this is one of the few schools that offers their students the ability to work AND learn simultaneously. Columbia’s location is also ideal, as we are really in the thick of it here, which I love. Finally, having such small and intimate graduate programs really makes you feel incredibly connected to your teachers. For example, my cohort has a total of ten students. Ten of us to one teacher each class. You get a lot of individual attention this way, and that aspect was a key deciding factor for choosing a program that was right for me.

When you graduate from here, you want to do/go…

In my dream job world, I would be able to teach in a high school within the Windy City during the day, participate in after school activities as a coach or club leader in the afternoons and then, if I’m really lucky, have the opportunity to teach a class at night in the university setting. While this would be a busy schedule, I thrive on being involved in several activities at once. The key would be managing such a demanding schedule while still maintaining my own art practice. A student can dream, right?

Art education is…

Without a doubt, art education is a necessity for creating well rounded and energized students. Art education helps students by engaging and working all of their cranial “muscles” to promote a healthy, balanced approach to learning in not just one or two focused areas, but rather in ALL areas of learning. Art helps students learn to think outside of the box, develop better problem solving skills, and it’s even believed to help increase students self esteem by fostering a safe environment for the expression of ones individuality.

Art teachers are…

Game changers and awesome. How many of us have an art teacher (or more) among our personal lists of favorite teachers of all time?! Art teachers can bridge the gap between text book/lecture-based learning and hands-on experiences. Without art teachers, I fear students would miss out on important lessons in problem solving and expanding their own creative ways of thinking.

One thing I’ve already learned as a graduate student is…

It’s a lot of hard work. End of story. You will only get out of graduate school what you put into it! This time has to be used wisely and optimally in order to achieve greatness and, in all honestly, land the ever elusive job after graduation!

A piece of advice I’d like to offer to anyone considering becoming a teacher would be…

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE! Make sure you really like working with the age group you plan on focusing on. For instance, I enjoy working with teenagers and have no problem with the angst, moodiness or drama of that age group, but put me in front of third graders and I’m terrified!