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I am originally from Livingston, Wisconsin. I had the privilege of growing up on a farm in a close knit family. I was raised to value family, friends, a country lifestyle, hard work, athletics, and art. I have been fortunate to have great people influence who I am today. I have been influenced by a loving family, devoted teachers and coaches, dedicated friends, and skilled professionals.
From an early age art has been a part of my life. I was raised to have a great appreciation for art. As a child I was always drawing; trying to depict farm life, horses, and football players. I enjoy solving problems creatively and working with my hands. When I was given opportunities to take elective credits in high school I chose art courses. In addition to appreciating art, I value opportunities to learn. I enjoy learning. I believe that I have become what I am today mostly because I desire to learn more...be more... for myself and for others.
I switched majors after my freshmen year of college from communications to art education for a variety of reasons. I believed that an educator's lifestyle is great for being a devoted husband and father. I realized that I wanted to have direct access into people's lives. I wanted to share my journey with others and share their journeys with them. I wanted to help others succeed and accomplish their goals. I realized just how much my teachers helped 'mold' me into a better person. I realized just how much my coaches challenged me to push myself to limits that I would not have pushed myself towards. So I knew that a career in education would be the most rewarding career path for me. I wanted to be someone who promoted the importance of art and relevance of art to others. In college I learned to appreciate art and people even more. My experience in college taught me to value and maintain relationships. In many ways art is more about the artist and the audience than it is about the physical work of art itself.
After being an art educator and coach for eight years I have had the privilege of practicing what I have learned. The greatest part of being in education is that you are always learning... always growing. For me the most rewarding part of education/coaching is the process of passing on knowledge/wisdom to others. To witness someone succeed because they genuinely accepted and applied what I have shared with them is when I know that what I do each day is making a difference.
My greatest accomplishment has been and continues to be the relationships that I have with my wife Cari, my son Grant and my daughter Mairyn. They are who I have prayed for, who I have worked for, and who I live for each day.
I believe that the purpose of education is to instruct children and adolescents how to become successful adults in all the pursuits of life available to us in our modern world. Teachers have a great responsibility in providing both knowledge and wisdom to children and young adults. I believe that teachers can be the greatest examples for children today. Teachers can provide many things that, unfortunately, some children do not receive any other place other than from school. Teachers can make a large impact in their communities by involving themselves into the lives of their students and into their school.
As a teacher I will be a positive role model for my students. I want them to see in me a person who enjoys what life has to offer. Students will see in me a person who has compassion for people. Students will know that I care about them and the community. I want to help students to live positive and successful lives. Students need to be encouraged to explore all of the exciting things that art has to offer. Students need to learn how to appreciate other cultures, architecture, design, and their natural world. I believe art is such a tremendous tool in order for students to learn about themselves and also about other people. Art can provide informational, emotional, and psychological benefits to students. Students need to know how art has impacted people's lives all throughout history and especially how art impacts people's lives today. Our modern world is so visual at this time in history and I believe that art deserves much of the credit for why our world is so visual and for how expressive the cultures of our world are today.
My classroom environment will be an example of constructive learning. I believe that a constructivist approach is the most effective and complete approach in teaching children about art. Art involves both cognitive and physical skill. A curriculum that develops and challenges both areas can be a very positive way for a child to advance their learning at their own pace. A curriculum that builds upon previous knowledge encourages students of all learning levels to further develop their skills. In my classroom students will learn how to manage time, material, and systems as members within a community of learners. Students will learn how to be independent thinkers that are able to develop efficient solutions to problems that they encounter during the process of creating art.
Communication is what I consider most within my classroom management plan. I believe that managing a classroom is less demanding for the teacher as long as the expectations for behavior and classroom protocol are communicated effectively.
Classroom rules and procedures are most effectively communicated to the students when they are established in the very beginning. My expectations of the students and for the classroom will be spelled out within a handout, posted within the room, and orally communicated to the students upon first interaction with the students.
Students need to be taught proper behavior within the classroom. Students in my classroom will be taught and/or expected to be respectful of the people and the subject matter involved within the classroom.
Nonverbal communication can be an effective way of preventing and of reprimanding disrespectful/inappropriate behavior. Sometimes a raised voice or an 'evil eye' from the teacher is enough for the students to stop and listen. Looking students in the eyes is also effective in order to keep them focused on what you are saying.
I stop talking. I choose to never talk over students. I wait for their undivided attention as I walk around the room. When students are talking while I am talking, if I stop talking, the students notice when the room is quiet that they should be quiet also. Then I must instruct them to be respectful and not to talk while another is talking.
Walking around the room is effective if a student or group of students are acting inappropriately. Having closer proximity to the students will most often stop the behavior.
Saying someone's name aloud is a verbal method of stopping inappropriate behavior. Whoever is behaving inappropriately usually knows what they doing wrong.
Conflicts with students in all cases should be avoided. However, they do occur. Communicate to the students that their behavior is the problem and not them. Make some sort of connection, after the conflict, in order to reconnect with the student. Reconnection is critical if a positive teacher/student relationship is to progress.
Creating a safe environment in the classroom is important. Students should feel respected, encouraged, and students should feel like someone is interested in them. As long as students feel respected, students will interact and will not be afraid to ask for help. The purpose for the classroom is to encourage learning and exploring not only of the subject matter but of each individual as well. Students will be more enthusiastic about learning as long as they are not afraid to explore possibilities within their work or in asking questions.
Choices-Decisions-Consequences: Students will learn that for every choice there is a decision, and with every decision there is a consequence. Enforcing consequences is where a teacher maintains authority and credibility. The goal is for students to learn once from a consequence in order to prevent future, possibly more severe consequences.
Fairness in punishment and praise: All students should be recognized and reprimanded when they are deserving of it.
I learn from the students. Sometimes students’ ideas are better than our own. As teachers, our job is to take their ideas and incorporate them into learning experiences. I communicate to students that together we earn their grade for the course; they meet me half way and I meet them half way; 50/50.