PHILOSOPHY OF TEACHING STATEMENT
My approach to teaching is one of synthesizing intensity, investigation, instigation, inspiration, integrity, a process of building vocabulary, and dogged hard-work. Through both solid course design and meeting individual student’s needs and helping them to identify their unique strengths, I seek to inspire life-long-learners and self-motivated artists.
I believe that one must first lay a solid foundation of information, establishing the vocabulary for the coursework ahead. It is paramount that students be given tools to encourage critical thinking and inquiry as a basis upon which to grow both creatively and intellectually. Terms, images, and explication of conceptual relationships are cornerstone to art, design and technology, but do not become relevant until students are challenged through expression, research, and introduction to and refinement of practical application. It is through rigor that students are able to build their own creative frameworks.
As an educator, I like to emphasize providing comprehensive information within a well-defined structure and aim to leave students wanting to know more through stressing the importance of self-motivation. Thus the classroom becomes a safe laboratory, an environment in which students push my understanding alongside their own, as free exchange of ideas and concepts elucidate the medium.
Substantial life-long-learning cannot begin in a setting that provides limited horizons. Likewise, impactful learning cannot take place without encouraging creative experimentation. My greatest aims are to facilitate critical, excavative thinking and analysis, to lead the trek on an exploration to the diverse edges of humans “being” and to foster an experience where students can freely explore the living creation of theatre and art in a way that helps them to free their voices.
This prepares them for the challenges that lay beyond graduation, which are relayed through sharing of my professional experience in the industry.
I teach because it is a critical component of who I am as an artist. I alone cannot fully express the beauty and richness that surrounds me; I need to be a part of a collaborative organism that seeks to inspire and expand vision and cultivate the artist’s seed, which hides inside every individual- the very beating heart of the academic institution. Collaboration, much as in theatre, empowers the learning process through sharing and exchange.
I find no greater joy than in helping individuals succeed and to pave the highways of their own futures. Whether through encouraging civic engagement, connecting students to internships, employment or exposing them to the array of ways in which they can use their skills or implement their vocabularies, I see my role as one that facilitates a student’s ability to succeed beyond graduation, not just as artist but as citizens. The measure of success becomes not one of a student’s capacity to do one thing well, but in their ability to continue to challenge themselves. Successful artists are conscientious, dynamic, professional, and inquisitive.
I find that my work does not stop when a class is dismissed. I remain as a constant voice of empowerment, inspiration, a reminder of fundamental values, and one that is always ready to continue to challenge a student to seek to connect their work to a broader audience.
Art functions at its best when it is accessible to all. The creation and sharing of art is a venture of synthesizing intensity, investigation, instigation, inspiration and integrity. It is a universal language that can communicate beyond all boundaries and thusly should not be yielded with a heavy hand, but should uplift, express and celebrate the richness of the human experience.
When asked to pinpoint my approach, I cannot help but to reply that I take all approaches. It is integral that I explore all media and techniques to constantly grow.
The focus of my recent work has been devoted to Costume Design, a field that facilitates daily art-making. Each design begins as a central thematic idea, which is and illuminates the connected visions of playwrights, directors and theatrical artists. More than “dressing the parts,” my role is to act as an artist-translator, relating stories to broader audiences.
In all aspects of life, I seek to live artfully; making things along the way to express the beauty of the journey and delighting in the ability to share it with others, whether through artifact or through educating.