Too often, the word charity is used to describe a generous action or donation. Charity, in its original context, is unconditional love. Love that bears all things, love that matches, if not exceeds, one’s love for oneself. It is my zeal, my teaching style, and what I hope to teach my students.
As soon as my students step into the art room, they are artists in a studio. I believe that giving the students as much choice as possible encourages artistic behavior, and allows them to experience the limitless boundaries that define art. My objective as a teacher is to focus on the child as an individual, fostering expressive decision-making and self-exploration. Artists in my classroom develop a foundation of art making skills that build confidence in their hands, and in themselves.
Choice in the art room is two-fold. First, it allows for the students to create better artwork. Choice makes room for more imaginative decisions, problem solving, and engagement. Second, it teaches the students accountability. By explicitly facing a child with the decision to behave or misbehave, they will most likely choose the “good” decision. This is not a choice made for the instructor, this is a choice for themselves. I do not believe that because I am an adult authority in the room, I am automatically given respect. I am charitable towards my students, and my students will learn to be charitable towards me and each other.
By the end of the year, I want my students to be both well-rounded in their art making techniques, as well as their ethicality. Conduct interlaced within my lessons includes accountability, patience, kindness, and of course, charity. I aim to encourage accountability, so all of my students understand that they are in control of their own actions, regardless of external influences. Similarly, I teach patience, and bearing provocation without iniquity. In my classroom, we also practice kindness - understanding that doing your best to bring joy and comfort to others is what brings joy and comfort to yourself. My biggest goal, and inspiration, is to teach my artists the true meaning of charity. Not only do I expect these behaviors from my students, I expect these behaviors from myself. These concepts are taught less through words, more so from actions.
My students teach me everyday, and I plan to improve as an educator by listening. My students are the best advisors for what is working, and what is not. I strive each day to eliminate my ego and receive correction from my students so that I may better develop them as artists and people.