I kind of fell into teaching. When I went abroad to Peru to work in the Peace Corps as an environmental volunteer, I ended up teaching a lot - from English, to recycling, to various art projects. I felt natural in that line of work, my empathy and intuition guided me along the way. I enjoy helping others and realize that my inspiration grows as I work to inspire others.
Since then, I have taught art of almost all media to people of all ages and backgrounds. I've made some crazy fingerprinting projects with Pre-schoolers, facilitated collage, watercolor, and sculpture projects with elementary school kinds, taught plaster sculpture, drawing technique, and murals to middle and high school youth, contemporary art and visual culture to college kids and art history, painting and drawing to older adults.
I've learned a lot through these teaching experiences. I've gained a lot of patience, flexibility, and attention to detail. I recognize the fragile differences and similarities between working with children and working with adults, especially the more aged ones. I know how to recognize the introverted creative kids and make sure their creative voices are heard as loudly as the more extroverted and energetic kids.
Teaching art is great, because there is so much room within it. The class can be play-based and experimental, or based on technique, it can be more serious and look at the history of art or explore social issues in art. No matter what, it helps people grow as themselves, get to know their personal voice, and understand a bit of their expressive humanity.
I believe that everyone has a creative bone in their body, and are able to find a way to express themselves through visual art. For some, it is the best way for them to show their inner world to the outer world, while for others it's a more difficult journey to find how to do that. Through the process there is always the ample ability for the student to learn something new about themselves - to see themselves, society, and the world around themselves differently.
I like to say that "art is life," because I truly believe the two are interchangeable. Everything goes in art and life is everything. Thus, art is a great vehicle for discovering, experiencing, and understanding our lives.