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Jessica Bowlby

Teaching Philosophy

As a young child, I always had an interest in the arts. I loved being in my art classes and

talking to the art teachers. There is one art teacher that I had in high school that really made an

impact on me. I had Mr. McAfee all four years of my high school career and found joy in

spending time in the art room. Mr. McAfee’s classroom made me feel safe because I knew that

he truly cared about his students. Students would come to him with questions pertaining to art,

but also problems they were facing in their lives. He always takes the time to talk to each student

in his class. He also made learning fun by acting goofy and being relatable to his students. Mr.

McAfee is one of the art teachers in my life that has made me want to become an art educator

myself. I want to make an impact in my students’ lives just like he has with his.

As an art educator, I want to stress that fact that anyone can produce wonderful works of

art. If someone is able to find the passion and determination within themselves, they are capable

of creating something interesting and unique. It is my goal to allow students to see this

possibility within themselves and act progressively on it. I plan to create a community within my

classroom and the students. This creates the opportunity for students to feel safe in my classroom

and work with one another to achieve goals. I want my students to be able to feel open and

vulnerable while creating their art.

In my classroom, it is important to me to make my students to feel safe. I want them to be

able to express themselves through their art. Self-expression is very important to me. I want my

students to feel comfortable in my classroom because I have personally been in art classes before

where I did not feel completely comfortable and able to express myself. I felt as if the teachers
and other students would judge me. I want to create an environment in which the students feel

completely comfortable and can express themselves. I plan to be supportive of each student’s art

work. This type of behavior may in turn make the students feel as if they can also support each

other in their art making. In Qualities of Effective Teachers by James Stronge includes the point,

“Students who perceive a positive classroom environment report being more engaged in school

(Fulerton, 2002).” By creating a safe and community of learners, the students will be more

engaged in school and in the art classroom.

I also want to make learning fun. I would like to create lessons that can be very open

ended and choice based so that students can take any direction in the project that they want. I do

not want to create lessons that will restrict my students’ creativity. I believe that if you give your

students a little freedom within their projects, they will be more interested in the project. I plan to

create culturally relevant projects and base them on social issues. By doing so, my students will

be more interested in art because they will be creating projects that are centered around topics

that are currently going on in the world. I would also like to include projects that involve the

community. Doing so will allow the students opportunities to become more involved within their


Another important concept I want to acknowledge in my classroom is that everyone has a

unique artistic ability. Most students will not be on the same level artistically. Due to this, I plan

to not grade based solely on how good the art looks. I want to grade my students’ artwork based

on the amount of effort they put into each project and how much they improve throughout the

year. It would not be fair to students to grade them based on how successful their artwork is. All

students learn in different ways and at different levels. Also, I will be a life-long learner because
I plan to always be learning and changing the way I teach to make it the best possible experience

for my students.

Art is a very important part of a child’s life. Art allows students to be creative and

expressive while also learning about techniques and social issues. In Art for Our Sake: School

Arts Classes Matter More Than Ever – But Not for the Reasons You Think, Ellen Winner and

Lois Hetland state, “While students in art classes learn techniques specific to art, such as how to

draw, how to mix paint, or how to center a pot, they're also taught a remarkable array of mental

habits not emphasized elsewhere in school.” (Winner and Hetland, 2009, p. 2) In my classroom, I

want to create a community that is safe and fun for the students. I do not want my students to

dread coming to their art class because they feel that they are not good at art. I want them to be

excited, just like I was excited to go to Mr. McAfee’s classroom every day. I want my students to

be able to receive the same type of art education that I received in Mr. McAfee’s class.


Stronge, J. H. (2007). Qualities of Effective Teachers. (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association

for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD).

Winner, E., Hetland, L. (2009). Art for Our Sake: School Art Classes Matter More Than Ever -

But Not for the Reasons You Think. Colleagues, 4, (1-7). Retrieved from