Through vulnerability, support, laughter and conversation, I aim to foster an inclusive environment that allows students to feel free to express themselves through their work. As a teacher, it’s vital to lead with empathy, acknowledging the different struggles students may be facing while also being a listener and making sure students feel heard. My job as a teacher is to give each student the encouragement to seek out, and the freedom to bring in the diversity of influences they have in their lives. These influences make up the individuality of each student and it’s my duty as an educator to support that pursuit.
As an artist and educator, the value of an education in the arts is immensely significant to me. I don’t expect students to work towards a career in art, but through learning and practicing the studio habits of mind, students can prepare for a life of continuous learning outside of the classroom. Students are encouraged to think critically and learn by exploring their curiosities. Supporting and encouraging each student to branch out in a new direction is helpful for guiding them through their exploration. It’s important to focus on providing an environment where students can learn through exploring themselves and their own interests, allowing room for outside perspectives.
To be a teacher, it’s essential to recognize not only the diverse learning needs of students but also the diverse cultures and backgrounds each student brings to the classroom. As of 2018, 79% of teachers in the United States were White. Being queer, Black, and Latinx, I grew up experiencing a tremendous lack of representation throughout my entire education. I understand how valuable it can be to have that representation as a student learning in a classroom. Whether that representation comes from the curriculum being taught or from the educator you are learning from. Now as an educator, I realize I have the power to create an inclusive learning experience and environment for all students. By centering curriculum around LGBTQIA and BIPOC artists, all students will benefit from learning from a new and rich perspective that isn’t rooted in a colonial point of view. ︎