My journey to educator began with a promise I made to myself in 1998, the year I graduated college double majoring in Graphic
Design and Sculpture. I had always wanted to be a graphic designer; teaching was never in the cards for me. I was more interested in having a career where I could create art, not teach art. It’s funny how we think we are in control of
our destiny, isn’t it?
While in college, my summers were spent working for the city parks and recreation department where I was the Art Director for
the neighborhood park program. I supervised 36 playground leaders, most of whom were education majors. The playground leaders were stationed around the city where they played games and made arts and crafts with the neighborhood kids. I
created the arts and craft projects and would teach the playground leaders how to make them each week. As soon as one summer ended, I looked forward to returning the following summer. How could I not? I spent my summer creating arts
and crafts, playing with kids, and supervising some very fun loving people. This would be the first time I considered teaching as a career. I brushed it aside, however, because I wanted to create art, not teach art.
My last year of college was a transitional time for me. I had just gotten back from a month long backpacking trip through Europe
where I visited as many museums as humanly possible. The friend I had gone to Europe with was a co-worker from parks and recreation and loved art. She was an education major and eagerly listened to me go on and on about Brunelleschi
and the dome for the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, the architecture of Gaudi, and many other facts that I had
learned in my grueling art history classes. She was a patient student and I want an enthusiastic teacher.
Again, I brushed aside the idea of teaching.
After returning from Europe and starting my final year of college, I was hired by a non-profit art school who worked mostly with economically disadvantaged kids. I thought this sounded “fun.” I taught after-school art classes to groups of 10-15 kids at a time. At one point, the local Catholicschool brought me in to teach a semester of morning elementary art classes. I loved how I felt after I left work. I had made a difference that day. It was time to admit that the idea ofs teaching wasn’t going to
I looked into changing my major with one semester left before
graduation and quickly dismissed the idea once I realized just how much extra
school I would need. I decided at this point that I would enter the workforce as
a Graphic Designer and one day retire as an Art Teacher.
Every few years I looked at going back to school but it was never the right time. I
got married and had a family but never lost sight of the promise I had made
myself in 1998. I enjoyed 14 years as a Graphic Designer and worked in many
roles including owning my own publishing
Finally, when my youngest child was 3, I decided it was now or never. I had been staying at home with her while publishing my own magazine and felt ready. It was time to make this life altering change…it was scary. I had been comfortable in my career and was about to start completely over.
I won’t say that going back to school was easy. Trying to find the time to read,
write papers, and do homework was difficult with two kids tugging on me. Not to
mention the PPST was a killer! It had been a long time since I had used some of
those math skills. One of my most special memories was of my son giving me
advice after I found out that I didn’t pass the math part of the PPST and
cheering for me when I did pass.
Today, I am enjoying the challenge my first year as an Art Teacher. I am teaching middle school and high school art and have days that I am so busy I can’t see the end of my “to do” list. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If I had to do the last 15 years over, I don’t think I would change a thing. Well, except for passing that math PPST on the
first try. I feel very fortunate to have had the experiences I’ve had with my
first career, I believe it makes me a stronger teacher. Although, I do look
forward to the day when I feel like I have it all together… will that day ever
As a young graphic art student at Minnesota State University-Mankato, Amy had an opportunity to teach art classes for economically disadvantaged students. This began her passion for teaching. After finishing her BFA in Graphic Design and Sculpture, she spent a month backpacking through Europe where she was able to see, first-hand, many of the art pieces she studied in college.
Amy enjoyed 15 years as a graphic artist, website designer, and entrepreneur. Finally, the opportunity presented itself for Amy to go back to school and pursue a career in art education. Last summer, Amy graduated and became licensed to teach art. She spent the past school year as a long-term art substitute teacher in two different school districts and is looking forward to having her own classroom. Because of her diverse background, Amy feels that she can guide her students in their current artistic achievements and also help them envision themselves as artists in the future.