Why Become an Art Teacher?

So why have I decided, after so long to go back to school yet again? Why not use my bachelors degree to find a good job or try harder to fit into a graphic design position, whether through freelance or at a firm? The answer lies in my heart, and I know that I’m on the right path finally! Graphic design never felt like it was a true passion, and while I absolutely love many aspects of it, it just never clicked with me in my mind or my being. I also chose design partly because I knew that I could to work remotely and as a freelancer. Margaret and I have dreams of living in the country and I thought at the time it would be a perfect job for someone who lived and worked on a farm.

In the last few years I have become more and more drawn to working with people. I felt and continue to feel a strong pull to help people in some capacity. While working at the coffeeshop I found myself empathizing and connecting strongly with a wide variety of people and knew that whatever I decided to do, needed to be rooted in some sort of social work. I played around with the idea of becoming a nurse, but tossed that out the window when I realized just how much I dislike hospitals; I’m sure I could have gotten over it, but it didn’t feel right. Then an old dream of mine surfaced as if to be like - oh hey man, remember me? I have thought, for at least 25 years that I would love to be an art teacher. It was always in the back of my mind but for some reason it never revealed itself as a path. I never finished my bachelors degree so I just thought of it as an impossibility to become a teacher. (I couldn’t get my math requirement finished - but finally was able to last year!) With my new degree under my belt I felt the sky was the limit and the very first thing that occurred to me was that I could become an art teacher! It was this realization that struck me to my core. I started telling customers at the coffeeshop that I was in school to be an art teacher. It resonated. I felt proud. It was literally the first time in my life I felt like I was excited and proud to say I was in school for something. It became clear to me that I figured it out. It took 20+ years of trying a million things, but I figured it out!

But why?

I think it has a lot to do with my own experiences with my art teachers in junior high, high school, and even in college. Junior high with Mr. Houfek especially. Mr. Houfek was the reason I survived middle school and he really inspired me about the possibilities of art. Like so many others, I had a miserable time in junior high and I was among the lowest in the pecking order. Having art as a source of self confidence and as a way to express feelings was invaluable to me. I see the importance of art in life and really want to help kids who are struggling like I did. Ultimately I would love to be a middle school art teacher; to continue the good work of people like Mr. Houfek and others like him. Mr. Houfek saw something in me and encouraged me. That little bit of encouragement meant so much more than he probably intended, I felt like I was seen and taken seriously for the first time in my middle school days. Again, invaluable.

The other reason why I want to be an art teacher? I LOVE ART! I love art projects, love seeing what people come up with, love the creative process and getting messy, love to encourage kids and help them express themselves, and I love to be able to continue my own explorations into art and what comes next.

Part of Good Nature Guide will continue to journal my experience of going through Graduate School and becoming an art teacher, so if you are interested in following along, please check back in the future and see what I’ve been up to! Thanks for reading!