Originally coming from the Commercial Arts realm, my migration into teaching was interestingly original. Although I proudly utilize my knowledge of child/adult psychology often to help understand the personal stance of each of my students, I also rely heavily on my gut. Entering education from a workforce as opposed to directly from college to the classroom has offered me a real world view on teaching the arts. Students are able to relate to their artwork by understanding how it will actually help them in their lives, either as artists themselves or through creative thought and processing. My background has also allotted me an interest in technology. I carry this into my classroom where I am constantly one step ahead of my students on new and upcoming technolgy, as well as how to utilize it within my lessons. With technology in the classroom I am always referencing a great printmaking artist and Norfolk State University Professor, Solomon Isekieje who said, "Design is a solution to a problem". Design in ALL forms, artistic and otherwise must relate to the real world application in order to gain value to the society and our students.
I often look back to my own time spent in High School. The drama, confusion, and fear that come with simply being a teenager. I am constantly reflecting on each of my lessons and looking for methods to improve. I imagine myself, as a High Schooler, sitting in my classroom and wondering would I even reach myself, or am I lecturing and demonstrating artistic skills to no one. I was once quoted in the Daily Advance Newspaper as saying, "If they [the students] don't like what they are doing, then I am not doing my job."
My own personal skills help bring not only the real world, but also the true application of those skills into the academic environment. My students learn the classical methodologies of drawing in an Andrew Loomis and Charles Bargue style as well as learn to Model three dimensionally using Blender. My students are able to understand color theory as it pertains to painting with tempera, acrylic, as well as oils. They are also educated in graphic design principles using Photoshop, GIMP, Illustrator, Inkscape, and learning HTML. Finally, my students take all of their skills to learn how to create a video game, on the PC, from scratch. You can view and play all of their games here. I also have been proud to bring new after school activities that have flourished at Camden County High School such as, Art Guild and a film studies group called Bad Movie Night.
Personally I have always held true to a quote from Edinboro University Sculpture Professor and Department Chair, "A great teacher is someone who can say the same thing 1,000 different ways." To me, this says it all. We all learn differently, but a true educator can reach every single child, by differentiating their instruction and admitting that they too can learn from the experiences inside the classroom.
© Copyright 2010 - Christopher Kozak All rights reserved.