"An elementary school that treats the arts as the province of a few gifted children, or views them only as recreation and entertainment, is a school that needs an infusion of soul. The Arts are an essential element of education, just like reading, writing, and arithmetic...music, dance, painting, and theatre are all keys that unlock profound human understanding and accomplishment."
-William Bennett, Former US Secretary of Education
This quote from Mr. Bennett really strikes a chord with me. Sometimes the Arts are thrown into instruction 'if there is time' or they are skipped altogether. I think by doing this, schools are short-changing their students. Gone are the days of preparing students to enter the workforce with the basic skills to hold down a 9-to-5 job at a company and make their way up through the ranks of that company until the day that they retire. The jobs that will be available to today's elementary school scholars upon graduation will have a focus on Creativity, Problem Solving, Collaboration, Innovation, and Critical Thinking. Most of these skills cannot be taught from a text book, nor can they be easily quantified on a standardized test. Today's learners need an education that allows them to create, work effectively with others, and use their imaginations.
This is why I am honored to be the Visual and Performing Arts Teacher for Manzanita Public Charter School. I have degrees in Theatre Arts and Television Production. I come from a musical family (my mother was a classroom music teacher), and I was Music Director at my church for 16 years. The aspect of teaching that excites me the most is to see the pride in a child's eyes when they create something meaningful that they can say is truly theirs, whether it be a painting, a musical performance, an amazing piece of writing, or the solution to a math problem.
I look forward to unleashing the creativity and imagination of every child in our school as their VPA Teacher, as well as continuing and expanding Manzanita's Drama Club and Honor Choir programs.