Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Reflecting on the Year After the Artist Teacher Workshop

Back in May 2013, for professional development, the Leipzig International School sent me on a course called "Artist Teacher Workshop" at La Vigna Art Studios in Pisa, Italy.  The course was designed and run by Heather McReynolds, an IB Visual Arts Examiner.  The main focus of the workshop was to rejuvenate the artist within art teachers and help them realize the benefits of being an artist teacher who teaches by example in the classroom.  The course was wonderful.  Heather was so inspiring, encouraging, and generous with her knowledge.  It has changed how I see myself as a teacher but more importantly it has made me realize I need to rediscover myself as an artist.

After returning to LIS and starting the school year of 2013/14, I thought about ways of making good on the professional development and keeping the energy felt while on the workshop alive.  How could making art more regularly help my students?  My grade 11 IB Art class has been a great encouragement.  By meeting their deadlines for critiques and sketchbook entries I was able to grow artistically along with the group and lead by example.  Grade 9 IGCSE used my new work to practice written analysis and we traded linoleum prints.  I collaboratively worked with grade 10 and 12 students on their ideas and created work that demonstrated possible solutions.  I even attended drawing classes with a few grade 12 IB Art students.  Becoming an artist teacher has been very positive in the classroom.

The blog I started, Artist-Teacher-HERE.blogspot.com, allows me to record the steps taken to stay artistically productive and to share images of the art works when they are completed.  Producing my own art again has been vital to me feeling complete and has strengthened my teaching.  The highlights of the year have been working on a series of new paintings exhibited at a 24 hour group exhibition called Optimaler Schnitt in April and exhibiting  at Webervogel and Linguarama in June.  I can not thank LIS enough for supporting me as a teacher and valuing me as an artist.  This year, I have undergone a great transformation and I am looking forward to being an artist teacher next year, sharing all the benefits that may come in and outside the classroom.

Exhibition view at Webervogel, Leipzig.  Running June 5 - 25, 2014

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