I knew from a young age that working with children and living overseas were two things I loved. Having grown up in Saudi Arabia, Peru, Michigan, and Poland with parents as teachers, I have become adaptable while learning about new cultures and adventurous through exploring the world. I started babysitting when I was 12, attended training to become a camp counselor at 16, and taught a Saturday Morning Art Class as part of my undergraduate art education degree at Michigan State University. Deciding to teach art was a natural choice for me; I started drawing when I was three years old and haven’t stopped since. Though my personal artwork has become more graphic design orientated, my passion for art has not faltered. Ultimately, these experiences led me to become a visual arts teacher at 3e International School in China and at Luanda International School in Angola.
Giving students the freedom to explore their artistic side is what motivates me as an art educator. Art is a form of self-expression that students often do not receive in other subjects and yet is part of a balanced education. I teach my students and my students simultaneously teach me new things every day. They teach me that creativity and art have no limitations. I am constantly impressed by what students create by using art materials in new and unexpected ways. With proper guidance, every student can excel in an art class because the artwork each student creates is personally unique.
Teaching overseas has allowed me to experience and understand cultures inside and outside of the school environment. I have had traveling opportunities like visiting historic sites such as the Taj Mahal and I have had cultural experiences like eating traditional Chinese hot pot at my coworker’s home. I have seen various artworks around the world and taught about these delicate and historical art methods to my students. The culture of an international school is unique, exciting, ever changing, and one I will continue to learn from.
I have led professional development art workshops to staff members: one about open-ended art and one about combining art with other subjects in the classroom. Leading these workshops and participating in other teacher’s PD lessons have made me a more successful teacher. I am constantly reevaluating and improving my teaching from the suggestions and ideas of others. I have started an online MAEA (Master of Arts in Educational Technology) degree through Michigan State University which I hope to complete in the next year.
Working in two international schools, 3e International School and LIS, has allowed me to teach and participate in other activities I have an interest in. I have taught digital art, cooking and yearbook as after school activities. I have mentored MPY and DP (IB) students who have taught their own after school activities. I was the assistant coach for the varsity swim team. I have been published in several magazine articles showcasing student artwork to Beijing expat families. At 3e, I worked as a graphic designer designing logos, brochures, and advertisements which allowed me to utilize my second degree, a BA in graphic design. Incredible overseas opportunities like these have made international teaching a fulfilling lifestyle that I wish to continue for as long as possible.