Fifteen years ago art met education in my mind, my work, my furiously swirling pen. I could no longer facilitate, walk into, away from workshops after school, in school and not wonder what happened after we stopped writing, talking, thinking creatively, critically, honestly, imaginatively. I was curious about the students I worked with, curious about their writing, about the teachers, about whether artists can make a difference in “Education”, creatively creep through the high pressured policy crevices, and work on the in between narratives bubbling inside of classrooms? I wondered as an artist, if I could be a part of the change, the shift, the sway of learning, in spaces that are filled with young minds.
I don’t consider myself a “teacher”, but rather an artist teaching. Do you know any teachers? I often watch educators in their classrooms and marvel at their command of myriad knowledge and their beautiful dance with the material. I often work closely with teachers, who are talented, highly capable and absolutely thorough in the craft of engaging learning in the classroom. I suppose as an artist teaching, working with those teachers, sometimes I feel my role is to ask what else or to take creative risks classroom teachers can not always take (in plain sight). Let’s forget about the test for the moment. What are we now going to do with what students just learned? How can we take what we learned and do something interesting with it? How are we going to make it stick, apply it somewhere else, relate it to real life?
I watch young people think and pretend not to listen. But after years of teaching, I know better. Students are listening, waiting for the moment to shine brightly. However, their opportunities for that moment seem to dim with each year in school. How is that possible? We all have our theories. And of course education policy keeps changing in response to those theories. As an artist working in and out of classrooms, I see that glimmer in the faces of students, teachers, and I’m fascinated by it. However, I am practical and understand that I’m not in that classroom every day.
There is so much more to the story, and I am curious; interested in teaching and learning, interested specifically in writing in the classroom and beyond the classroom. I am interested in shifting learning spaces, creative practice and honoring the creative space in learning, from critical to creative, practical to imaginative. I am interested in teachers, students, artists, and what we all can do together.