I once wrote about the idea of teaching art as a profession. It is something that has been in my sights for the last 6 or 7 years while I messed around with countless other professions and artistic endeavors. I originally thought I might like to teach at the college level but after much thought, a good look at the job market, and a desire not end up teaching somewhere like Oklahoma Panhandle State University, I decided I would enjoy teaching at the High School level much more. I recently began the Master’s in Art Education program at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia which will (hopefully) lead to gainful employment as a teacher. I am already knee deep in books, taking three classes and teaching a class on Art Education and Technology to undergrads so my proverbial plate is full at this moment.
Now I could have gone the MFA route and I actually considered it quite thoroughly, but in the end I wanted to learn more about teaching and work on my own art on the side. While an MFA might push my work to a new and different level, the opportunities to study teaching are very limited. I know quite a few programs where you get little to no teaching experience and little to any teaching instruction. I won’t go into that too deeply because it is not the topic of this particular entry.
Now when I was younger I could have never imagined myself teaching. I had very little respect for school and while I was off the charts on every test they gave me, I was lucky to achieve a C in most classes. I didn’t want to do the work involved and I was not really interested in learning at the pace that was set before me by the institution, at least not during High School. During my early educational years I was part of a Gifted and Talented program and it was the only time in school I can truly remember being challenged, at least until I finally decided to go to college where I met such great ass kickers like James Friedman, Patrick Manning, Andre Ruesch, Patrick Nangatani, and the person who probably motivated me the most ever, Adrienne Salinger.
These kinds of teachers inspired me, pushed me, and nearly drove me over the edge a few times but they forced me to ask harder and harder questions of myself, my art, and of the world around me. Having been a part of these classes made me to think about what it was I wanted to do after I graduated and went into some sphere of the art world. I can think of no greater job than bringing that out of someone else. I will always make and create art and give away as much time as possible doing things to help within the larger community of art, but like everyone who wasn’t born with a trust fund, I need a job and a career that I can feel good about.
So over the next couple of years my photography ramblings will be interspersed with teaching anecdotes and loads of other fun stuff. Pay no mind if they start to sound incomprehensible at some points, I do have to read about 30 or so books a semester so my mind may be a little fried. In the meantime I will continue to make as much art as I can possibly crank out and will share with you all as much as I can.