MAT adjunct instructor Cory Bucknam
Prof. Cory Bucknam from our Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program is an artist who has also served as a full-time teacher at Brunswick Junior High School for 18 years (and counting!). In 2017, she was granted the Monhegan Island Artist Residency for K-12 art educators. In 2018 was recognized for "Outstanding Service to the Profession" by the Maine Art Education Association.
In addition to these impressive teaching roles and accolades, Cory is also taking on the prestigious position of President for the Maine Art Education Association (MAEA) this year.
As she prepares for her expanding role and responsibilities, we caught up with Cory to ask her about her experience at our College, hopes, and goals for developing future art teachers. Here is a brief Q&A excerpt from that encounter.
What do you consider the biggest impact an art teacher can have?
Art teachers have the power to not only foster creativity in children, but also to bring families together and foster creativity and connection beyond the walls of the classroom. The magnitude of the impact an art teacher can have is immense, and can affect the culture and community of an entire town.
As you take on your new position as President of MAEA, what do you hope to focus on and accomplish?
I have two main goals I'd like to work on as President of the MAEA. One is to develop greater support for new and emerging art educators throughout the state… My second goal is to focus on Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion at an organizational level. What can we do as a state-wide organization to support ED&I inquiry and learning for our members? What resources can we offer them? How can we incorporate ED&I practices into both abstract things like our vision and mission as well as into concrete things like state conferences and professional development opportunities for our members? We're just beginning this journey, and I'm excited to collaborate with MAEA members on this important work.
What surprises you most about being an art teacher?
I honestly had no idea how much I would enjoy working with middle schoolers. They are the BEST! As exhausting as it is to teach at this (or any other) grade level, their energy and enthusiasm are infectious and make me love my job more and more every year. The work is hard, but immensely rewarding in a way that few other careers are. I can't imagine any other job that would make me WANT to do this much work, and get so much enjoyment out of doing it.
What advice would you give to an artist thinking about whether or not to pursue a teaching career?
Teaching art is about so much more than simply the projects you do in the classroom. It is about developing relationships with students and supporting them both in and out of the classroom in ways that may have nothing to do with art. It takes dedication, openness, organization, patience, and passion, but it will reward you with the deep satisfaction that you become an important part of childrens' lives and make a positive and significant difference.
What to you is most special about the MAT program at Maine College of Art & Design?
I'm impressed at both the breadth and depth of experiences the MAT candidates gain through this program. The exposure to art education in a wide range of settings, from art museums, to public and private schools, to after-school extracurriculars, to community programs gives the candidates experiences not found in many other art education programs.