Thursday, January 12, 2012

21 Ideas Learned from Teaching Art

@Toni Ruppert  "Danielle" - future Picasso

Who was your favorite teacher? A big part of what I do is teach others what I do. I achieve that through art classes. I currently teach at two locations  - the Art House through the Oak Forest Park District and the Vogt Visual Art Center in Tinley Park, IL.

At first, I got into teaching for the money. Seriously. I wanted to make an additional income part-time. I knew I could teach others what I know about art.

Of course, over the eight years I’ve earned way more than money teaching.  I’ve stayed involved with students because I stay fresh and current in my own work by teaching them. Lately, I’ve been wanting to take my teaching skills to a brand new level. The First Days of School by Harry and Rosemary Wong has become by "Bible." 

With a little help from The First Days of School, here are the 21 things I'm learning from teaching:

  1. Preparation = success.  When I’m unprepared, it shows.
  2. Each student will exceed my expectations.
  3. Each student has the potential to be a great artist.
  4. Some “slow learners” actually learn art differently. 
  5. The brightest and most promising artist in class might just be my autistic student.
  6. Repeating and practicing a technique leads to mastery.
  7. A stubborn artist who refuses to learn is soon given her wish.
  8. Training the artists of tomorrow is an honor.
  9. Learning art and teaching new techniques keeps my own art fresh.
  10. There is more than one way to paint and more than one way to teach it.
  11. When I’m on par, my students misbehave less.
  12. All positive: I try and use all positive words in my art room.
  13. Teachers are managers.
  14.  A computer can not replace an effective teacher.
  15.  I say Please and Thank you to my class.
  16.  I must consistently install routines and procedures.
  17.  Learning art is better than watching mindless reality TV.
  18.  In terms of materials, being unprepared does not work.
  19.  Being READY for my class leads to success.
  20.  I believe in collaboration, so I have lots of helpers/assistants in my art class.
  21.  I welcome each student with a smile.

From my days of playing teacher with my brothers and sisters, I knew one day I’d inspire others.  I’m grateful I get the chance to do that with art.

Who was YOUR favorite teacher? How do you motivate, teach and inspire the ones you lead? Let me know by leaving a comment below.


Sharon Wall said...

Toni, your thoughts and ideas about teaching art are so similar to what I learned about teaching religion over the years. Be prepared, say please and thank you, smile. All great lessons. Thanks for sharing those! and keep inspiring others to create!

Toni Ruppert said...

Sharon, Thanks for your comment. I find it interesting to know you have taught religion and that our teaching philosophies are similar. I guess there are some lessons that are universal here.