Year(s) and Subject(s) Taught
I teach Art & Design in Years 7 to 11.
How long have you been teaching?
Why did you become a teacher? Why did you choose teaching as a profession?
I knew from the age of 12 that I wanted to teach, it was my dream. However, I never shared this dream with anyone in case someone told me it would not be possible. I kept it to myself until I was 16.
Tell us about your own education journey.
Firstly, I completed a BA Honours Degree in Fine Art at Lincoln University in the UK, then I found a course that was not just a teaching course, but it specialised in teaching secondary art education (PGCE Art and Design) at Birmingham City University.
What is the most memorable moment in your teaching career so far?
In 2016, I supported a school trip with 42 students to South Africa from the UK. We stopped at Istanbul airport for a transfer to Cape Town, which was supposed to be a short wait. In fact we slept on the airport floor for two nights because a military coup had started; all flights had seized and the airport staff had fled. We all learnt so much during that experience. On the third day our trip leader along with the British Embassy was able to get us all safely out of Istanbul airport and onward to our South African outward bound experience; which was rather more satisfying after what everybody had just gone through.
What do you like most about teaching?
I love being able to set an open brief and watch how students navigate it in their own way. I watch in awe as they make their own decisions about how they want their work to look and what they want it to be about. I watch them try new things and make mistakes. I watch them try to rectify their work, watching their initial ideas evolve.
What is the best thing about teaching at your school?
Our students love a creative challenge, and although it is the minority of students that take an arts based subject for IGCSE, our students very much understand the value of being involved in creative ventures and other extracurricular activities offered here at elc.
Who or what inspires you?
People inspire me, that is why I love teaching so much. I use Pinterest and watch clips on Youtube and follow Great Big Story. Ultimately it all comes down to the human condition and what great things people are capable of. I am just lucky that I live in the age where the work of these inspirational arts practitioners can be shared.
Describe the ‘perfect’ student.
I do not believe in the word perfect. Perfect does not exist because everybody has different criteria as to what perfect looks like. I make a conscious effort not to use the word perfect, especially in my teaching. I often say to the students “progress not perfection”. If a pupil is worrying over their work not being good enough, progress can come to a complete standstill. Art should feel inclusive not elitist.
However, to answer your question, a great student is one who has endless effort and determination in wanting to improve, even though not everything is successful. They are someone who acts on advice and feedback. They are someone who works outside of lessons and communicates about this progress. They are someone who personalises their work because of their own experiences, things they have read or seen firsthand. They should learn to ask for advice from peers, teachers and seek to find other ways to independently learn. They should be reflective and self-analytical about their own work and the work of others. They should take calculated risks and lastly be positive, seeking to find solutions not problems.