Case study: teaching art

Emma Clack, art teacher

Emma Clack, art and design teacher

Now in her sixth year of teaching art and design at the Arthur Terry School, Emma considers her subject to be essential to development and learning. It’s a discipline, she says, that encompasses a wide range of ideas and thinking, and explains that any subject can be taught through art.

While studying fine art at university, Emma worked in local primary schools as a classroom assistant, supporting literacy and numeracy, and completing art tasks with the pupils. It was this that helped her decide to get into teaching, and she opted for university-led training to gain her PGCE after graduating.

Any worries she had prior to teaching were allayed by training, and she discovered there is so much more to teaching than sharing knowledge. “My appreciation grew of how much responsibility a teacher has in making sure that students make progress – not just in your subject, but across every aspect of their lives.”

Once she was qualified, Emma found life as a teacher to be just as rewarding as she expected. Teaching, unlike any other job, offers the chance to watch the people you’ve helped grow and develop. “When you’ve taught a student in, say, year 8 and then you see them again in year 10, the progress that they’ve made in that time is so rewarding.”

But art and design is seen by many as a subject that some students naturally excel in while others struggle. Emma, however, says her role as an art teacher is to dispel that myth, and to unlock the potential in every student. “Everybody has a talent. As an art teacher, it’s about understanding where those strengths lie.”

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