What the *##@** is a Teaching Artist?

I’ve worked in the arts in education field most of my career, but it’s only been in the last 15 years or so that “what I do in the classroom” has been given an official and completely baffling moniker: teaching artist.  Most people assume that means I am an art teacher.  If you knew me, and had ever seen me wield a piece of chalk or crayon, you would buckle to the floor and wet your pants.  Or something.

The truth is that teaching artists are ARTISTS in the broadest sense of the definition: dancers, actors, poets, writers, painters, ceramicists and so forth who come into the classroom and work with the teacher to use the arts to enhance the curriculum.

Unfortunately, this is only the follow-up elevator speech to the person who says, “My sister is an art teacher.”  If someone genuinely wants a follow-up, my best shot is to give a simple explanation of a recent residency.

In an attempt at shameless self-promotion, here is a (downloadable) flier I created to explain what a residency with a teaching artist might look like.

About Page McBrier

Page McBrier is the author of 43 books for young readers, including the award-winning picture book, Beatrice's Goat. Her work in the schools as a teaching artist keeps her close to her readers and inspires her to write stories that bring the world near.
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