So I returned from Europe and now I have a job teaching high school art for District 207 in the northwest suburbs! I am so excited to work at a new school with lots of great faculty. I’m taking a big chunk of my time in August to start organizing and getting things in place. There’s just so much to tackle and I want to start teaching on the right foot. Tomorrow I receive my keys to the art rooms and I get my desk. So far, it still hasn’t felt ‘real’ that I will be a full-time high school art teacher, but I think tomorrow when I start to move between rooms and go through art supplies, it’s going to hit me fast.
For the past week, I’ve been making a list and gathering objects, artifacts, photos etc. around my house and on my laptop that I want to make sure make it into my classroom and in some way into my curriculum. Since I am a visual artist, it makes sense that I gain a lot of inspiration for ideas and new projects well…from visuals. Sometimes to get my brain thinking in the right direction, I look at photos, artwork and objects of other artists to stimulate the creative in me and get me thinking in the right space. Books, post-cards, posters, videos, magazines, sketches, and photos will all be used as sources of inspiration for my students. From the first day of class, I would like to practice the habit of being inquisitive in order for students to create successful art pieces themselves. I’m excited to help build a culture of research in the art room for students to really think about the work that they are making and how it makes a statement, but also how it compares to popular culture as well as to contemporary art and how their actions connect to the rest of the world.
Main resources I plan to have in the art room include books, an inspiration wall for students to contribute to themselves and new art related technology such as Google Art Projects. Regarding books, I really do like the quality images produced by Phaidon Books. They are of high quality and their “Vitamin” series is great for offering a variety of contemporary artists that represent a wide range of themes. I guess I am still old school in that I want to promote students to still have a love affair with books and all types of books in lieu of always being glued to a computer or their phones. The second thing on this list is an inspiration wall. I haven’t thought about the where and how, but I think it would be great to offer a small space for students to contribute items they find on their own that they deem creative, inspiring or thought-provoking in some way. It’s an easy platform for students to lead and contribute to rather than the teacher always guiding the art idea process. The third major tool that will be a must this year is Google Art Project. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s a definite must. Talk about inspiration, this app lets you access extremely mega mega-pixel zooms onto famous artworks from around the world. It’s a great way to integrate technology and art history into any project and it’s free.
Well, I’m off to cross idea-making with organizing/scheduling in order to make some rockin’ syllabi for my students. Start taking note of all the little things you notice that inspire you from the silly to the brilliant. Your phone’s camera isn’t just for selfies…record what you find.