I usually begin by acknowledging the truth, which is hardly ever easy, at least in the beginning. The current reality, for many of us, is that we have full artistic lives, we teach part-time, we probably have inadequate training as teachers (at least in the beginning), and we are, generally, poorly compensated.
We arrive in the classroom through many different doorways, some of us by necessity, some of us because we feel we are called to teach.
We do our work in a variety of contexts—schools, church basements—and, although many of us have advanced degrees in education or art, many of us don’t. Many of us learned, or are learning, how to teach on the job. In a supposedly professional field, this reality raises big questions:
Is the professional artist with no advanced degree, certification or background in education really qualified to teach?
What are the qualities of effective teaching and what basic skills, competencies and understandings should a professional teaching artist possess?
This blog addresses these questions over and over and over again because the terrain keeps presenting new challenges. As Dale Davis, ATA's Executive Director often requests, please contribute to ATA, and email your thoughts, comments and links to things that TAs might use. Your input helps make ATA a resource for teaching artists who, "qualified" or not, are out there doing the work.