Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

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Teach What You Love.

Apply Your Creativity to Inspire PK-12 Students

Meet our Candidates
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Practical, Action-Based Learning

Field Work + Community Engagement

Program Overview
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Start Here.

Go Anywhere.

Life after MAT
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What are you waiting for?

Apply today

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

Start here. Go anywhere.

For seven years running, 100% of MAT candidates had a job placement within three months of graduation. Every graduate from our program wanting to teach landed a full-time teaching job.

 

Maine College of Art & Design’s 10-month Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Program prepares artists to become effective art educators who learn to translate their unique qualities into creative teaching practices.

Apply today!

The 10 month MAT is divided into three phases: a one-month summer intensive where theory-based courses are taught in an institute-like setting with field experiences beginning on the very first day; a fall semester of courses that include studio art, teaching methods & curriculum building, work in alternative settings, and a consideration of how to manage a classroom for all students; and a spring semester that culminates with a 15-week student teaching experience that can take place almost anywhere, enhanced by an action research seminar. The program starts early and ends early so candidates graduate in time to apply for teaching positions immediately as they open.

View the Graduate Viewbook here

Artistic Excellence

View all stories
  • MAT candidates in the field with community partners

    MAT candidates in the field with the Boys & Girls Club, a new community partner
    Read Story
  • Jackie Christie ’21, MAT ’22 follows her passion to become an art educator

    Jackie Christie '21, MAT ’22
    Read Story
  • MAT summer institute supports programs at LearningWorks

    MAT summer institute
    Read Story
  • For the Love of Life & Art

    Amanda Albanese MAT ’18
    Read Story
  • Full Circle

    Mattea Weinberg BFA ’17 MAT ’18
    Read Story
  • Everything is New

    Samara Yandell MAT ’18
    Read Story
  • MAT Teacher Candidates Boost Local Learning

    A Book's Job is To Connect
    Read Story
  • MAT Alumnae Working Side by Side

    Ceri Nichols '15, Emily Rupe '17
    Read Story

Program

Summer

  • MAT 801 Fundamentals of Teaching, Learning, Creativity and Cognition (6 credits)
  • MAT 800 The Artist as Educator Experience: Art Studio Component (3 credits) This course continues into the fall.

Fall

  • MAT 806 Exceptionality in the Art Classroom (3 credits) *
  • MAT 809 Alternative Settings for Art Education (3 credits)
  • MAT 810 PK-8 Curriculum Design, Development, and Assessment (3 credits)
  • MAT 812 High School Curriculum Design, Development, and Assessment (3 credits)

Spring

  • MAT 832 PK-8 Student Teaching (6 credits)
  • MAT 833 High School Student Teaching (6 credits)
  • MAT 836 Professional Practices Seminar (3 credits)

 

  • Formally or informally reflecting on each experience in MAT, no matter how monumental or routine, was greatly responsible for the development of my philosophy of education. Continuously reflecting and examining my practice or the practice of my peers, mentors, or professors, was critical in shaping my understanding of what makes a successful educator, and these are values that I have carried with me into my first year of teaching.

    Emily Rupe MAT '17    //  High School Art  //  Cumberland, ME
  • I couldn't have [gotten a job offer] without everything that went into the last 10 months at the College. I worried and super-prepared before my interview, but once I was there, I felt comfortable and able to speak confidently to their questions. I'm really happy about pursuing these next steps as an art educator and am grateful for how the MAT program both prepared and inspired me.

    Margaret Mountcastle MAT '16    //  High School Art Teacher  //  Winthrop High School
  • We’re the ones who someday will be the art teacher in high school that you all loved. We’re the ones who might be the middle school art teacher whom you don’t really remember, but somehow it was still your favorite class. We’re the ones who want to tell the schools, the parents, and the community, how important the arts are.

    Ceri Nichols MAT '15    //  IB Art Teacher  //  Cumberland, ME
  • I am very happy to be able to pass along the news that I was hired as an art teacher. I am grateful for the encouragement and support... Reading my reference letters again helped me remember how much we learned at Maine College of Art & Design and remind me that I'm ready for my own classroom!

    Rosemary Ellis MAT '14    //  Elementary Art  //  Farmingdale, ME
  • As part of the school’s program, all faculty members are required to take workshops in scientific inquiry and investigation. As the only art teacher there, I felt a little out of place that first day. However, because at MECA&D we talked a lot about inquiry, project-based learning, and the incorporation of interdisciplinary knowledge, I was definitely ahead of the game, and was able to very quickly validate my place at the table.

    Debra Schaeffer MAT '15    //  Middle School Teacher  //  Southbury, CT
MAT candidates in the field with community partners image

MAT candidates in the field with community partners

MAT candidates in the field with the Boys & Girls Club, a new community partner

Each Tuesday, and sometimes on Wednesdays, candidates from our 10-month Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program are in the field with our community partners to work with school-aged children.

The aim of our fall fieldwork course—Alternative Settings in Art Education—is for MAT candidates to:

  • Develop original lessons that engage learners by exploring materials skills/technique and making connections to the art world.
  • Create safe and inspiring learning environments.
  • Practice, reflect, and refine instruction through peer and professor feedback.
Starting this term, we are thrilled to include the local Boys & Girls Club as one of our MAT community partners. We can’t wait to continue working with the wonderful team there!
Learn more about the MAT program
Jackie Christie ’21, MAT ’22 follows her passion to become an art educator image

Jackie Christie ’21, MAT ’22 follows her passion to become an art educator

Jackie Christie '21, MAT ’22

What I loved about the MEAC&D MAT program was its speed. Teaching is one of my passions, and I was very eager to get started.

Jackie Christie '21, MAT ’22 follows her passion to become an art educator

After Jackie Christie '21, MAT ’22 got her BFA from MECA&D in photography she immediately continued her education through our MAT program.

“I’ve always known I wanted to be an art teacher,” said Christie. “What I loved about the MEAC&D MAT program was its speed [...] Teaching is one of my passions, and I was very eager to get started.”

Christie emphasizes trauma-informed and sensitive practices in her classroom. Her philosophy as an educator is to facilitate safe spaces where students feel comfortable being vulnerable and expressing themselves through the means of art.

“I aim for my students to feel proud of their work, with new creative ideas swimming in their heads. Through fostering deep thought and critical thinking within my students, I hope they take home with them that art can be an expressive tool that they can take with them everywhere they go. I hope they leave my classroom knowing that they are capable, strong, intelligent individuals.”

We are proud to share that Christie was recently hired by her alma mater, Massabesic High School, in Waterboro, Maine. There, she will work alongside the art teachers who inspired her journey to become an educator.

See inside Jackie Christie’s classroom
MAT summer institute supports programs at LearningWorks image

MAT summer institute supports programs at LearningWorks

MAT summer institute

MAT summer institute supports programs at LearningWorks

Students in our Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) summer institute have had two beautiful weeks supporting the LearningWorks summer program at East End Elementary School.

Starting with the building blocks of our MAT program, our summer institute plays an important role in setting the stage for the teaching and learning principles that will deepen for our graduate students over the fall and spring semesters. Participants in the program quickly move from theory to practice. Starting on the second day of the program, the MAT students begin fieldwork with community partners like the one with LearningWorks, which provides academic enrichment opportunities through project-based, hands-on, and engaging curriculum for local kids (grades 2-5) in need.

This program is designed to support our community while giving teacher candidates real-life opportunities to apply their artistic sensibilities. Dynamic lessons the candidates design seek to foster critical and creative thinking while being flexible enough for them to tailor activities to individual interests and learning needs.

Learn more about the MAT program
For the Love of Life & Art image

For the Love of Life & Art

Amanda Albanese MAT ’18

Collaborate with your cohort, try to stay calm under the pressure, and remember we are all here for the love of life and art.

Meet Amanda Albanese. MAT ’18 graduate originally from Rhode Island. Amanda had a job offer from a private school in California locked in weeks before the MAT graduation day in May. We chatted with Amanda at the start of her position as the new photography teacher & photo department head:

Where do you live?
San Juan Capistrano, CA

What are you doing for work now?
Photography and Studio Art Teacher, Freshman Advisor, and Assistant Cross Country Coach at St. Margaret's Episcopal School, San Juan Capistrano, CA

Are there any current projects, students or lessons you are very excited about?
Yes: Advanced Photography students created cover art for the recent production of Animal Farm by our theatre team. Students brainstormed ideas, worked with production teams and organized and edited in Lightroom and Photoshop post-production. We submitted cover art proposals and student artwork will be included on the production bill play, sweatshirts, and promotional posters. We are now starting a unit on Transformation and will be looking at artists such as Cindy Sherman, Alexa Meade, Jeff Gordon and others who blur the line between fiction and reality in their artwork.

Introduction to Photography and Physics departments will team up to work on a light unit project concerning the full spectrum of light (ultraviolet to infrared)

Preschool/High School Intergenerational project- AP and Advanced Photography students will work with educational teams and hopefully AP Psychology to merge pedagogical documentation and photography in this year-long documentation project in the Preschool. Student artwork will be included in the Preschool's Reggio inspired end of year show " Works of Wonder".

Our art department is going to Adobe MAX in October and I am really excited about that. There are so many new advancements that merge art and technology that to have the opportunity to visit and explore emerging ideas and products at the convention is really exciting.

I just printed my first C-print...ever! WHAT! color film printing is a true gift at such a poignant time as we continue to transition to new technologies. I feel lucky to now have the opportunity to print with the last color darkroom in LA.

In what capacity has the MAT program prepared you most for this work?
Collaboration, technology, and interdisciplinary skills.

Has your life changed after graduation?
Majorly. MECA&D opened new doors for me that have changed the entire course of my future. Since MECA&D I drove across the country, settled into a totally new environment in southern CA, and began shooting in film again.

In what ways has it stayed the same?
I still blend work and life pretty much daily.

Do you keep in touch with anyone from MAT?
Yes a few, I just reached out to a cohort member today (other than this interview). I write letters to my mentor teacher and we text each other as well. It's hard to balance making new connections with moving on.

Are you practicing art? 
Yes, I have been working on a painting series that began in Portland, ME. that started at Portland Pride, 2018. I was so overwhelmed by the positive connections I found when photographing Pride this summer that I wanted to continue it into a painting series (still at the beginning stages.) I am also developing some film photography. I am a member at a community darkroom in my area and just started printing at a color film lab. Alternative process and pinhole camera revisits are next on my list.

Why did you decide to get your MAT at MECA&D?
Small, coastal, artistic, historic.

Why should a prospective student choose MECA&D’s MAT?
It will prepare you for everything you will need to know or want to know.

What advice do you have for prospective MAT students?
Collaborate with your cohort, try to stay calm under the pressure, and remember we are all here for the love of life and art.

What resources, tools, or organizations have you found helpful throughout your career thus far?

  • Google Drive assets (classroom, sites, and forms especially for education)
  • Adobe Suite and Adobe Blog
  • Online resources: Art of education, the cult of pedagogy, Edutopia, the Getty, ArtsEdge, Art21, Project Zero, JSTOR
  • Research and library resources with periodicals available
  • Hardcopy Artbook monographs
  • Attending art shows and fairs (Sawdust in Laguna Beach was local and interesting)
  • Museum visits
  • A lively artistic practice and taking risks in the studio (helps students too)
  • Getting out of your comfort zone: Going to new places for ideas and experiences
  • Local workshops and open studios: The Irvine Art Center in Irvine, CA and Contact Photo Lab in Los Angeles, CA
  • AP Studio Art College Board workshops. Going to one this weekend in Costa Mesa, CA.

MECA&D’s MAT program is: "intense and authentic". Portland is: "unique".

Learn more about Amanda on her website.

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Full Circle

Mattea Weinberg BFA ’17 MAT ’18

One of the biggest changes occurred when applying for jobs. I took the opportunity to relocate. I was not expecting that it would bring me back to New York, my birth state, to teach in the school I grew up in.

Mattea Weinberg, a MECA&D graduate from the BFA and MAT Programs tells us a bit about her journey and how it feels as a new teacher in New York fresh out of MAT.

What are you doing for work now?
I am currently working at Brown School, a private school in upstate New York. It is actually the school I had attended from Pre-K all the way up to 8th. They now teach high school too! I currently teach 4th grade to high school.

Are there any current projects, students or lessons you are very excited about?
I am excited about all of my upcoming projects! I just finished a Where's Waldo piece that includes everyone from 4th through high school and some teachers. This really allowed me to see strengths within my students and where they might need help! It was a great assessment! I am also really excited for my 5th graders because they are starting a Surrealism unit, my 7th graders are beginning individual maps and my 8th graders are beginning Kehinde Wiley inspired self-portraits. I have really been enjoying bringing contemporary artists into the classroom!

In what capacity has the MAT program prepared you most for this work?
MECA&Ds MAT program really allowed me to experience the workload of a school teacher, managing multiple different grade levels at a time and being able to think of lessons on the spot!

MECA&D’s MAT program is: "the best thing you could do, if you want to pursue your dream of being a teacher. Within weeks you notice that anything is possible and that you can do it!"

Portland is: "my home. After living there for 6 years Portland has dug a hole deep within my heart. And I am excited to return for holidays and for summer vacation."

In what ways has your life changed after graduation?
One of the biggest changes occurred when applying for jobs. I took the opportunity to relocate. I was not expecting that it would bring me back to New York, my birth state, to teach in the school I grew up in.

In what ways has it stayed the same?
A lot of my life is the same, I'm still very passionate about teaching, I draw weekly and I live with my cat. Nothing could be better!

Do you keep in touch with MAT folks?
I do keep in touch with some of my cohort, not as often as when we were in the Masters program together. A lot of us also follow each other on Instagram so we can see what everyone is doing! I also am living in the same town as another cohort member who is teaching at a neighbor school so we often exchange ideas!

Are you practicing art?
I am making art, not as often as daily anymore but I am making art whenever I have free time. Right now I am working on a theme for 9 days. I am also constantly creating in my classroom. I make all my signs before the projects with my students!

Why did you decide to get your MAT at MECA&D?
I decided to pursue the MAT at MECA&D for a couple of reasons. The first one being that I graduated from MECA&D with a BFA in Illustration and a minor in Public Engagement. Over every summer I also taught for the Continuing Studies division of MECA&D and I always loved being a TA. At MECA&D, you are constantly learning and improving yourself. So it just felt natural to get a Master of Arts in Teaching at the college I love so much!

Why should a prospective student choose MECA&D’s MAT?
The MAT professors know what they are doing. They have been in the field and are great leaders.

What advice do you have for prospective MAT students?
Remember yourself, why you are doing this and who you are as an individual.

What resources, tools, or organizations have you found helpful throughout your career thus far?
To be honest the other teachers within my school. One reason why I wanted to teach at a private school was that the teachers form a bond. You are a team and everyone is there to help out.

View Mattea's fantastical illustrations on MECA&D's portfolio page

Follow @mattea.w to see some incredible daily insect drawings on Instagram.

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Everything is New

Samara Yandell MAT ’18

MECA has an amazing reputation, and the 10 month time commitment was perfect for a non traditional student like me. I had to leave my career to go back to school, and taking off more than 10 months would not have been financially possible. MECA’s MAT program is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Portland is my home, but is no longer the only important community in Maine to me.

Samara (Sam) Yandell graduated from MECA&D's MAT program in 2018. She is an artist, educator, activist, mother, and life-long Portland community member. Before MAT, she worked at the non-profit Portland Stage as their Director of Development while pioneering many theatre art workshops for kids. Sam was hired the summer after graduating to teach 3-D art at Biddeford Middle School. We caught up with Sam early in her first school year to see how things were going:

Are there any current projects, students or lessons you are very excited about?
Everything is new and exciting to me right now, but in particular my 6th graders are starting a unit called Powerful Puppets inspired by Ashley Bryan’s amazing puppets. We are discussing the meaning of power and exploring how it can be visually represented in a puppet. I am also working with the other teachers in the district to plan the district wide art show, which is being hosted by the middle school. I have volunteered to plan and create a collaborative installation for the school foyer, so that’s a thrilling and daunting project on the horizon.

In what capacity has the MAT program prepared you most for this work?
I have felt extremely well prepared, especially around lesson planning and standards based assessment. Both the course work and my teaching internships were immersive and challenging, and ultimately left me feeling ready to take over my own classroom.

In what ways has your life changed after graduation?
I am a commuter now, and have to get up earlier than I’d like. It can be hard to find time to fit in some of the things that I enjoy, but I’m hoping that once I get more settled I’ll find more time for the things outside of work that are important to me.

In what ways has it stayed the same?
I still love living in Portland, but working in a new community has really opened my eyes. I have been so Portland-centric for most of my adult life, but it is exciting to have a whole new community to explore and learn about.

Do you keep in touch with your cohort? Your professors and/or mentor teachers?
Not as much as I’d like. The other middle school teachers and I share resources and text occasionally. I think we are all too busy for much social activity, plus many of us moved for great jobs elsewhere.

Are you practicing art?
I am not making as much of my own art as I’d like to, but I did experiment with more printmaking this summer while working at a summer camp on the beach. I made gelatin prints of seaweed, then added layers of silkscreened text over the multilayered monoprints. The effect is like looking down into a tide pool, and captures the positive and negative natural shapes and textures of various Maine seaweeds, contrasted with bold hand cut silkscreened text.

Why did you decide to get your MAT at MECA&D?
MECA&D has an amazing reputation, and the 10 month time commitment was perfect for a non traditional student like me. I had to leave my career to go back to school, and taking off more than 10 months would not have been financially possible. MECA&D’s MAT program is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Portland is my home, but is no longer the only important community in Maine to me.

Why should a prospective student choose MECA&D’s MAT?
The reputation, the job placement rate, the connections, and the incredible creative environment.

What advice do you have for prospective MAT students?
Enjoy every minute of your time at MECA&D, it is an incredible institution full of amazing young artists. Take advantage of the opportunities to learn and explore, don’t forget you are a student as well as a teacher in training!

What resources, tools, or organizations have you found helpful throughout your career thus far?
Art of Ed podcasts on my way to work, I keep going back to my coursework and lesson plans from our time at MECA&D for ideas and troubleshooting. I also follow certain hashtags on social media and have some middle school blogs that I enjoy. The Middle School Art Teachers Facebook page is also a great resource.

You can view Sam's Seaweed prints along with many other Maine art educators' artwork hanging in the current MAEA show; opening reception on October 5th 2018, 4pm-6pm at MECA&D.

Learn more about Samara on her website.

MAT Teacher Candidates Boost Local Learning image

MAT Teacher Candidates Boost Local Learning

A Book's Job is To Connect

..a bunch of kids from around this planet taught me that a book’s job is to connect. And if it does, that’s enough.

Maine College of Art & Design’s ten-month Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Program prepares artists to become effective art educators who learn to translate their unique qualities into creative teaching practices. Fieldwork and community engagement are essential components of the program. Like most students at MECA&D, the MAT candidates can be seen working in a variety of settings across the greater Portland area, including schools, museums, and community-based learning centers.

Through MECA&D's MAT 809 Alternative Settings for Art Education class, community placements serve as a resource for informing classroom practice while MAT artist/teacher candidates explore, develop, and participate in engaging with intergenerational and multicultural community sites in various venues in the Portland area. MAT candidates collaborate with local schools and teachers to conduct classroom visits, develop and lead gallery tours, and teach workshops, engaging elementary and middle school children by extending and integrating their academic knowledge through interdisciplinary and integrated lesson plans. Through this process, MAT candidates learn how to work collaboratively within their communities to create and document artwork that has a social impact.

The Westbrook school system's student body has changed rapidly over the last decade to include students from over 25 countries who now call Westbrook, Maine, home. The art and life of Nek Chand, the true story told in the children’s book The Secret Kingdom, served as a jumping off point for lesson plans developed for elementary and middle school students in Westbrook by MECA&D MAT candidates in collaboration with the school teachers. Each teaching team returned to the partner school to hang displays and make the learning visible.


A Book's Job by Barb Rosenstock

This article was originally posted by  in Nerdy Book Club on February 13, 2018.

"Your job is a teacher, mine is a writer. Or you’re a librarian and someone else is an illustrator. But what is a book’s job?

When you’ve been working with children’s books for a while you can lose track. You start to believe that a book’s job is to sell a lot of copies or get made into a movie or always be missing from the shelves or have its title tweeted every ten minutes.

After more than ten years of writing for kids, I’ve just learned a lesson about a book’s job that I’ll never forget…

A group of master’s level student teachers from the Maine College of Art & Design in Portland asked to use my upcoming picture book, The Secret Kingdom, for a series of lessons. The Secret Kingdom (illustrated by Claire Nivola) is the story of Nek Chand, a refugee, forced to leave his home village during the partition of India in 1947. As an adult, Nek secretly rebuilt his home village using recycled materials.  His creation is now known as “The Rock Garden of Chandigarh,” and is one of the largest folk or “outsider” art installations in the world.

Portland is an official federal refugee resettlement city.  These graduate in-service teachers, supervised by Kelly McConnell, worked in teams to create lessons for a suburban school system that has grown more diverse in a short time because of its proximity to Portland. The district currently serves students who speak over 25 languages and have come from 66 countries to the United States.

These student teachers hoped The Secret Kingdom, and Nek Chand’s art, might be a good fit to address these varied student’s learning goals. We met in one Skype session, I answered some background questions, the book’s publisher sent materials, and these future teachers went to work. They created experiential lessons that showed great understanding of their student’s needs. Here’s four examples of their amazing work:

So, they defined home as a “safe space” and focused on school as a safe space they all have in common.

Future teachers Samara Yandell and Hannah Bevens wanted to “translate a deeper and personal understanding of home to our students.” But they didn’t have much background on their 5th grade students, and worried about what the idea of “home” could trigger emotionally, especially for more recent arrivals. So, they defined home as a “safe space” and focused on school as a safe space they all have in common. They called their project Safe Spaces/Safe Sounds. After reading the book (and shocking the students that Nek’s kingdom is a real place!) they set out to share “belonging sounds” across cultures: a French cathedral, Japanese temples, and aboriginal wind chimes. Their students drew and created their own chimes using recycled plastics and paint. The chimes were hung in a school entryway (with a QR code so the process can be accessed!) giving students an auditory connection to this safe space. Making school a home.

Coreysha Stone and Laura Berg’s essential question for their multi-day lesson was “Where do I belong?” In Story Bowl of Belonging, they shared an art/language activity that introduced artists as storytellers, pronoun usage, and what it means to belong in a classroom. Each first-grade student chose one object to put in a shared bowl. The bowl was ‘us,’ the objects “me” and “you.” They read Nek’s story aloud, discussed his community, used ELA standard pronouns, and shared artistic examples of bowls from Iraq and other countries. The lesson culminated in each student creating a paper mache bowl decorated with tissue paper, paint and images from The Secret Kingdom. The finished projects express unique ideas of self and community.

Amanda Albanese and Raven Zeh focused on “What colors/textures, sounds/words make you think of home?” in their Haikus for Home lesson. Their 5th grade class discussed sensory triggers: tastes, smells, sounds, memories, and how we can bring home with us using art (brilliant! seriously.) Students interpreted the theme of home in Haiku form, combining original words with sensory language from the book. They used sound clips, world maps, plants, fabrics, ceramics, mirrors, musical instruments, and Nek Chand’s art as inspiration. Amanda and Raven took into account students with textural or sound aversions. The final project was a video in which each student read their watercolor haiku while their sound clip played.

They showed their 6th graders samples of trees created by artists around the world. Students read and decided on The Secret Kingdom’s central themes.

Nek Chand worked hard to plant gardens in his art kingdom, so Greta Grant and Tori Parsloe’s lesson, Tree of Life was intriguing. They showed their 6th graders samples of trees created by artists around the world. Students read and decided on The Secret Kingdom’s central themes. The 6th graders each constructed a plaster gauze branch and copper foil leaf sculpture (much like the wire frameworks Nek Chand used) to reflect their unique qualities. The leaves were embossed using a variety of tools. Some leaves contained symbols, or quotes, “Live life how YOU want” or “Just because my path is different, doesn’t mean I’m lost.” The individual branches were wired to a larger classroom tree to show how students’ personal traits contribute to the entire school community.

While watching videos of these young students analyzing Claire’s illustrations, and working with Nek’s true story, I experienced their surprise, delight, and sometimes, their frustration. I noticed the patterns on their t-shirts and the embroidery on their headscarves, the shades of their skin and the colors of their artwork. I watched kids in one suburban school, from all over the world, engage with my words in a deep way. Most importantly, I watched them relate to a boy from India born over 100 years ago—a boy who was forced to go, but who found home again through his art.

My job is to write children’s books. As part of that, I think about sales figures, social media mentions, book lists and upcoming reviews for The Secret Kingdom. But those factors will never matter in quite the same way again. Because a bunch of kids from around this planet taught me that a book’s job is to connect. And if it does, that’s enough. That’s what I’m working for. That’s home."


See more photos and videos of the projects at http://www.curiouscitydpw.com/2018/01/21/secret-kingdom-art-lessons/ ‎

Detailed lesson plan .pdf files can be viewed at: http://barbrosenstock.com/read/SecretKindomguides.pdf

 

MAT Alumnae Working Side by Side image

MAT Alumnae Working Side by Side

Ceri Nichols '15, Emily Rupe '17

I have a moment of happiness, whether it’s a student finally getting what value is, or seeing their reactions to new materials during a demonstration, that’s when I’m surprised— it’s an amazing feeling and a constant reminder that I made the right choice in becoming a teacher.

As the Master of Arts in Teaching program enters its sixth year, recent graduates have begun their careers working side by side with seasoned alumni. Fern Tavalin, Department Chair, posed several questions to Ceri Nichols '15 and Emily Rupe '17  to find out what it has been like for them. Their written responses tell a compelling story.

1. Tell me a little bit about your teaching job.
We teach at Greely High School, which is located in Cumberland, Maine and serves both Cumberland and North Yarmouth residents. The school has about 675 students, and the two of us make up the art faculty for the high school. Ceri is full time and teaches Foundations of Art, Painting, IB Visual Art 1 & 2, AP Studio Art and Art II. Emily is part time and teaches Foundations of Art, Art II, and Digital Art and Photography. We both have advisories that all meet together on a daily basis, and Emily is the advisor of Art Club and Photography Club. Our department is a unique one that consists of Visual art, Music, Theatre, Health, PE and Special Ed. We meet on a bi-weekly basis to discuss school wide information as well as our discipline-specific issues. Our rooms are rarely empty, even when we have prep time.

We have a block schedule that consists of four 84 minute classes. Most classes consist of some sort of demonstration or introduction, often connecting to art history or contemporary art, studio time, and sometimes critique. We both teach Foundations of Art and Art II, and have worked to create a shared curriculum that ties directly to the Maine Learning Results. Something that we both enjoy, in addition to structured objectives, is the ability to make the curriculum our own. Most of the projects that our students complete in those classes result in a very similar product, but the process of implementing these lessons is where we are able to be creative and flexible. In these classes, we teach through the Elements of Art and Principles of Design and a variety of media including drawing, painting, printmaking, clay, and mixed media.

2. To what degree was being an MAT from MECA&D considered in your hiring?
Ceri: The art teacher on the hiring team was in close connection with Kelly McConnell, who played a big part in the recommendation process. MECA&D has a great reputation when it comes to preparing their teacher candidates for jumping into a teaching job. One of the things I was told really helped my application and interview was the visual aid I created and brought for the team which highlighted work I had done throughout the 10 month MAT program and included my teaching philosophy.

Emily: Ceri was on the hiring committee in search of a new art teacher last year. Kelly McConnell offered recommendations for MECA&D alums which made a big difference, especially when it came down to finding a teacher that shared the same educational philosophy and background. Knowing that we had the same background felt great, because it gave us something to connect with but also because in such a small department, making decisions together is inevitable and having similar experiences gives us an automatic team mentality.

Ceri: I was also just really excited by how organized Emily is, I knew we would get along!

3. What are some things from your experience at MECA&D that you found helpful as a beginning teacher?
Concrete observation was something we learned how to do in the Summer Institute with Fern and it has come in handy when reporting on students’ progress and accommodation success for their IEP or 504 meetings. Our prior knowledge and comfort regarding concrete observations is something that will also be beneficial when Greely begins the peer mini-observation process this spring, where teachers will be observing their colleagues and offering feedback that is tied directly to the Danielson Framework.

Ceri : When writing a standards based curriculum from scratch, having the experience in planning units and scope and sequence development has been great. It’s given me the confidence to think big picture, and make decisions, and I’ve really grown to enjoy it. In addition to that, creating standards based rubrics is coming quite naturally to me now that I’ve had years of experience doing it, starting with MECA&D.
Mentorship during student teaching has been a great resource as a new teacher. We both have used our mentors to help us through the beginning stages of starting our careers. They’ve been so helpful with problem solving and advice. We still think of them often.

Ceri: Photo Documentation is a wonderful habit to have in the classroom. It helps with reflection, and is really great with jogging my memory when I’ve gotten lost in the whirlwind of the school year. It also helps to have photos when yearbook asks you for them, and when we have our Tribute to the Arts day and show a slideshow of our students and their work.

4. What is it like for you to mentor/be mentored by a fellow MECA&D alum? Are there some aspects of your training that make it easier to talk to each other?
Ceri: It’s great to know the same local resources and share some of the same experiences from the program. Working with someone who has the training in standards based learning is great because it is such a significant part of what we’re doing right now at our school. I also think that learning to look at teaching as an ever-changing process that only gets better with reflection is really great. It makes the environment feel easy and challenging all at the same time. Like we’re both ok with adjusting and reflecting and growing. It makes it fun.

Emily: The MAT program really stressed the importance of collaboration and maintaining a team-work mentality, and the fact that both of us have that skillset and interest is something that has made working together really enjoyable. I think that our communication surrounding both summative and formative assessment that is directly tied to standards is very clear, and Ceri has been really helpful in mentoring me as I entered the dual grading system that Greely uses. This is a huge transition in terms of assessment for the HS this year, but I feel confident in my grading because of my education and Ceri’s shared knowledge.

5. Describe any surprises about teaching that you may have. (Your chance to brag about you and your students regardless of MECA&D education)
Ceri: For me, when I’m in the middle of my day, surrounded by students, supplies, emails, and to-do lists and I have a moment of happiness, whether it’s a student finally getting what value is, or seeing their reactions to new materials during a demonstration, that’s when I’m surprised- like “this is my job?” or “am I really getting paid to do this?” It’s an amazing feeling and a constant reminder that I made the right choice in becoming a teacher. One of my fears was losing the time to make my own art, and yes at times (like any time in May) it’s impossible to fit it in, but even just making example pieces can feel really good. And the students’ work is inspiring! I get a lot of ideas from them. Plus, teenagers are just great, most of the time.

Emily: Everyday I’m surprised by how much my students are teaching me, things like a new perspective to offer when demonstrating materials or content, or the best way to facilitate them towards achieving success within the classroom. Some of my students are so passionate about art or eager to incorporate their own interests into their artmaking. They’re introducing me to tools and techniques to plan and make art with that I would not have automatically included in my classes - like programs to create digital illustrations with, or ways to merge civil engineering computer programs with ceramics and watercolors. I’ve just embraced this role of being a co-learner, and it’s definitely helping to improve my connections with students in the now, and will absolutely be guiding my planning and instruction in the future.


Masthead image: Ceri Nichols '15, left and Emily Rupe '17, right.