Education Opinion

The Education of a Teacher

By Hanne Denney — July 11, 2008 1 min read
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Direction: Write a six-word sentence, a mini-memoir, of your teacher life.
Response: I’m always learning, can’t help it.
Teacher Magazine is asking teachers to participate in this project. If you haven’t read the responses yet, you should. Read “The Short Happy Lives of Teachers”, then add your own sentence. I think we’re writing a poem of the teacher experience. It’s an epic poem.

This is my week of professional development for the summer. I’m attending the Maryland Artist/Teacher Institute (MATI). This week I have created a puppet and an artist book and several poems and a dance and a musical and a tableau. If that sounds like a run-on sentence, well this has been a run-on kind of week. MATI is a very intensive experience.

I’ve worked with professional artist educators and teachers of all content areas. I’ve become part of a team that has moved through each of these creative mediums and performed. I’ve arranged my words into poems, my body into dance, and my colors into art, and through this process I’ve re-arranged my mind into new ways of thinking. Before this week, I would have said I am not an artist. I feel differently now.

I always thought using arts in education meant giving the kids markers to draw a scene from the book being read. I’ve used creative projects before, like having students draw a political cartoon about World War II. I have used art as an alternative assessment for those students who have struggled with written expression. I’ve showed artwork to represent history, and played music to create a mood, but I haven’t really integrated art into the instructional content.

This whole field is new to me. I’m really excited. Arts Integration is a significant application of Multiple Intelligences theory, of classroom management techniques, of diversity awareness, and of brain research -- not to mention all the specific content available in each of the artistic disciplines. In one week I’ve learned so much.

Whenever I learn something new about teaching, I learn that I have so much more to learn.

I’m always learning, can’t help it.

The opinions expressed in In the Middle are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.