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Art Teacher Education


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What to Expect

Art education students tend to be a small group, which can be an advantage. For one thing, you get more one-on-one time with your professors.

Corey Wright enjoyed her art education program because the classes were generally small. "The professors know you and you know them and the emphasis is on exploration and process rather than product."

A typical day depended on the number of courses being taken. She says she had four or five courses a semester, so she spent "a lot of time each day on art projects and doing research in the library or on the Internet."

A full load meant an average of three hours of homework a night. "At the end of the semester, things get crazy, and most people, including myself, are doing eight to 12 hours of homework a day," she says.

Lynne Finlay Klein took her master's degree in education at John F. Kennedy University in California after completing a bachelor of fine arts degree at Rhode Island School of Design. Then she took her art education teaching credentials and did some student-teaching at different school levels.

She liked the program because she could teach during the day and take her classes in the evening. That meant, however, that finding time to fit in her classes, writing and researching papers, teaching preparation and teaching was a difficult balancing act.

"You have to be organized. Make every minute count. Always have your reading material and notebook with you," she says.

She concentrated her homework on weekends, including reading about 150 pages a week.

Survival Tips

"To make sure you are on the right path, my best advice is to ask questions," says Wright. "Ask other students, ask your professors. Ask, ask, ask -- I can't stress that enough."

Her main extra cost was art materials, though the amount varies from student to student.

"Be creative," she advises. "Make things using [class] materials instead of buying your own. Also photocopy written materials. Photocopy them double-sided to save a bit, too."

How to Prepare

High school students should take art history, anthropology, Western civilization, English, history and math. Wright also suggests science courses for a student particularly interested in ceramics or photography.

"Expose yourself to other cultures, religions, traditions, histories, etc.," says Wright.

She also suggests volunteering at art galleries, museums and cultural events. "Go to art exhibits," she adds. "Lots and lots of them. And become passionate about something that is important to you."


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