As Gateway's Art teacher, I have a unique and exciting opportunity to help each student achieve their academic and personal best by expanding their learning experience through art. As with any teaching position, it is vital to first develop a relationship of trust and respect with each student. As each student/mentor relationship is formed, the opportunity for growth blossoms. When students discover their creativity, through the process of making fine art, their self-confidence takes off and they carry that with them into their other core content areas. It’s so exciting to watch kids realize that they can succeed by learning and applying new skills in the classroom. It’s a thrill for me to open doors that lead not only to academic success, but interpersonal and entrepreneurial as well.
Art Integration Teacher
Master of Education, Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Southwest Missouri State University
Pam’s “path” to teaching began as a parent and progressed into the classroom. Raising children with very different learning styles inspired her to change careers. She wanted the opportunity to give young people the tools to acquire knowledge about themselves and how to learn, that may not have been provided for them in their previous academic experience. She taught language and fine arts in an alternative high school in St. Louis for 10 years before relocating to Salt Lake City and finding Gateway. She believes that first providing a safe atmosphere and getting to know each student individually sets the stage to break old habits that were unsuccessful, and learn new ones that will empower students to not only succeed in school, but in all of life’s future challenges.
Pam loves the outdoors and hikes or snowshoes in the mountains with her dogs whenever she can. Family is a priority for her and her initial motivation for leaving the Midwest. Fine art will always remain her first love. She enjoys portraiture, sculpture and is currently collaborating on a children’s book with her sisters.
Creating Student Success
Watching “the light come on” cognitively for a young person that has experienced more academic road blocks than successes provides its own rewards. The general mood of the individual and inevitably the culture of the classroom can turn from bland to charged as today’s students re-discover their creativity. My favorite student-teacher dynamic is with the young person who walks into the room declaring that they “hate art” or they “can’t do it.” As trust develops, and the student begins to apply techniques learned, they often sit back and look at their work – and suddenly the light comes on because they realize that they can!