Have you ever wanted to start an after school program? Today’s guest, Pamela Saunders from Washington, D.C. was motivated to teach art when her children entered elementary school. Like many school districts, art was not offered, so Pamela took it upon herself to begin an after-school art program.
Pamela shares how she began her after-school art classes, what challenges she experienced and what motivates her to keep her vision alive.
Take a peak inside her art room and see what two projects were a home-run for her K-4th grade students.
As with all interviews with members of The Sparklers Club, Pamela turns the table and asks Patty a question.
Pamela asks, What are some creative ways that art teachers like me, who are self-employed, can creatively market their business in their communities? To hear Patty’s response, listen to AME 122 by clicking the play button below.
Get to know and learn more about our February 2019 Sparkler Spotlight, Pamela Saunders
1. What was your path/journey to becoming an art teacher.
I took a circuitous route! During collage I briefly worked with a non-profit art group developing a PR campaign as part of my course work in a grad level PR class. I ended up getting a summer job there teaching art to preschoolers and loved it. Years later, after becoming a decorative muralist and faux painter, I found my way back to teaching art at the preschool level. When my children reached elementary age, I started an art program at their school and added more schools after that.
2. What do you feel is your best attribute or strength as an art teacher?
I am passionate about art and want my love of art to be contagious. When a parent told me that their child, who had never shown an interest in art prior to my class, was now looking up artists, asking great questions and talking about art movements with his parents at the dinner table, I was elated. The mom told me that she looked at her husband and said, “who is this kid?!”
3. What do you do well in the art room and how does this benefit your students?
I am respectful of individual expression. In their art curriculum, they are expected to do things in a specific way. In my art club, I allow them to make artistic choices withing a framework. That is, if the assignment is to make a cat and the child asks if the cat can have big ears, I’ll tell them, “you are the artist, so you get to decide.” They are usually excited by the freedom to be expressive and that makes the artwork that they create more meaningful and interesting to look at!
4. Why do you feel teaching art to kids is important?
– Children need space and time to get lost in their imagination
– Art enables children to learn not just hand-eye coordination, the elements of art, how to use materials, but more importantly how to collaborate with others, how to problem solve, how to focus, how to observe something from different points of view, persistence, working through frustration, time limits… the list goes on.
5. Why did you join the Sparklers Club and how has the joining the group helped you?
I joined because I needed some fresh ideas. It was taking me hours each week to develop lessons for my classes. Since I had so many repeat students session after session, I always tried (and succeeded) to never do the same lesson twice. It was exhausting but when I found DSS, I felt like I had all these incredible lessons at my fingertips. What I didn’t realize was that by joining the Sparklers (and I am a founding member), was that along with it came the unexpected human resource – some refer to it as a tribe or sisterhood, a group of professional women (and men?) who understand the life of an art teacher like nobody else does and they are for you when you have a question, a problem, or a success. Being a Sparkler is priceless.
WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:
– How Pamela’s creative background and love of art eventually led to her art career
– How Pamela structures her after-school art program
– What were the benefits and challenges of running it
– Pamela’s personal philosophy on teaching art
– What advise she would give to teachers looking to set up their own after-school program
– How Patty feels she can market her services to her community with a simple social media strategy
LISTEN TO THE SHOW
LINKS & RESOURCES
Blog posts mentioned in this podcast: