SchoolArts Magazine

NOV 2006

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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P o i n t A Teaching Mantra Jennifer Leigh Nicklas I SchoolArts November 2006 V i e w h the throug teach of I w ill ll a joy insti ts . arts to studen in my xtend r n i ng lea m to e ch the d the ill tea Iw beyon cation rage ir edu the encou and ngful sroom clas meani ave a m to h the h the ip wit nsh ives. relatio their l hout throug arts discovered my aptitude for teaching at an early age. My teachers always paired me with the students who needed extra attention. However, I did not naturally assume teaching would be my before it vaporized future career. I have tried on several with the morning shoes throughout my life, and so light. "I will teach far, my crowning achievement has through the arts to been giving birth to my son. I think instill a joy of learning teaching will be a close second. My in my students. I will affinity for the arts transcends the teach them to extend their urge to produce and extends into education beyond the classthe realm of communicating this room and encourage them to passion to others. I desire for others have a meaningful relationship the ability to deeply experience and with the arts throughout their establish a lifelong, meaningful relalives." I wrote as best I could in tionship with the arts. the darkness for fear that if I got My goals are many and lofty, up to turn on the light, I would forand I set high expectations for my get it all. students. I can sometimes get overDuring the past few weeks I have whelmed with all I want to achieve, been spending my spare time thinkand this can lead to frustration. I ing about why so many teachers look to my teaching philosophy lose focus and thus passion about and see a long list of objectives, teaching. After all, in my opinion, ideas, and challenges I want to one should never do anything withovercome. For a long while I did out passion and conviction. I connot know where to begin, but this cluded that many year I developed a of us lose focus teaching mantra, a I desire for others and drive when our simple phrase that the ability to deeply jobs become static will help me keep experience and and dull. This is my priorities in because we are balance when it is establish a lifelong, time for me to step meaningful relationship afraid to try something new because in front of a classwith the arts. we are afraid to room. fail. We become It came to me comfortable with where we are and late one night, as I lay wide-awake figure why should we change somenext to my sleeping toddler. It thing if it works? This is where was one of those moments when things begin to fall apart, not just despite the darkness and silence in with teaching. the room, I was compelled to write down this thought in my head 10 o f I am confident in my decision to become an art educator, and my mantra is a simple solution to keep me focused on the heart of my goals and aspirations. It helps me align my objectives with my passion for the arts and for teaching. Ultimately, my teaching mantra functions to keep my mind on the moment, to enjoy where I am, and to look positively toward the future. Jennifer Leigh Nicklas is student teaching at Coconino High School in Flagstaff, Arizona, until mid-December. jln45@dana. Editor's Note: Do you have a teaching mantra you would like to share? Send it to Nancy Walkup,, for possible publication.

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