The school at which I work has been in session for almost four weeks now. Fall 2016 marks the beginning of my second year teaching High School Art. This be not very long compared to other veteran teachers, but is a huge milestone on my part.
I spent last year continually questioning my motives (as one typically does during his/her first year of teaching– or interacting with teenagers for that matter), reevaluating predetermined ideals I had made the summer before my first year began. In other words, I was beginning to disagree with myself (as one typically does when the alarm goes off at 6am on a Monday to make it to school on time) and second-guess every established incentive I thought I was in accordance with. I was too flexible, adopting every new measure I found into my internal teaching constitution. The question "why do I teach?" became "why do I teach?" became "why teach?"
My thoughts were all over the place. My first year teaching was beyond difficult (Fact: the definition of teaching can be found somewhere in the dictionary between the words awkward and laborious.). I needed a solidified code to follow, so I wrote just that.
Disclaimer: I am no Wordsworth. I can hardly keep a diary for three days. The closest connection I have to Hemingway is that I saw his house once.
Note that this is my own personal philosophy regarding art education (not to be confused with my reason for art-making, which has nothing to do with teaching) . Asking other art teachers for their philosophies will certainly yield different, and probably more formal, results.
PHILOSOPHY of ART EDUCATION
I teach because I have been taught,
been taught to see the colors in everything,
the shapes of all things,
and the connections between them.
I teach a language that all people can speak
when words and borders fail.
Regardless of skill or talent or genius
we create because we have first been created.
That is the purpose of art.
To teach is an honor, and honor is to teach. To get to school on time is aliens.