I have taught two-year olds to senior citizens. Of all levels, I have enjoyed middle school students the most. I enjoy the challenge that they present, as well as the ability to guide them towards a better future. Nearly every project that I teach reinforces their learning in science, math, social studies, language arts or technology. In the past six years, I have not yet repeated a project, as I am always looking for new and exciting ways to challenge my students…and myself.

As the sole art instructor at my current school, I get new students every year who have never taken art before. My challenge is to create stimulating projects that will guarantee success for everyone (most of whom are terrified when I show them examples of work from previous students). By the time they finish their first project, they realize that they are much better artists than they ever thought they could be. The very best artists are chosen to continue in my advanced art class as seventh and eighth graders.

Every year, my students look forward to our annual art exhibit. The best projects are shown and winners are selected to win ribbons, trophies and the coveted “Artist of the Year” award. For each project, students inform hundreds of visitors of the techniques used, as well as the information they learned while creating their artwork. The exhibit serves not only as a self-esteem booster for the students, but as a chance to advocate art education in all schools.