Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Teaching as an Art

art In Teachers As Artists from Ideas and Thoughts, Dean Shareski  states,

“Whenever I hear the question, “Is teaching a science or an art?” Invariably the answer is both.”

I have to admit that I’ve never thought of teaching as an art. Maybe because I was raised that science was serious and that art was considered frivolous. And we all know there is nothing frivolous about teaching!

What makes art – art?

Accordion to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Art is:

1. skill acquired by experience, study, or observation 

2. a branch of learning

3. an occupation requiring knowledge or skill 

4. the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects

5. a skillful plan

I think by this definition, teaching is most clearly an art.

Now that I am older (and hopefully wiser), I can appreciate the idea of art and how much work goes into creating art. It isn’t frivolous or arbitrary. Sometimes it is impossible to perfect but people spend most of their life trying.

When I first started teaching, it was like leaving an art classroom and going out in the world to create my own art. My tools were the knowledge I had gained from my education, and the medium are my students. What kind of art that is created depends on how I create it.

Sometimes the final product doesn’t turn out the way I planned but each work of art can be appreciated in its own way. Anything created with love and time and patience will turn out worthwhile.

I must have patience when creating because learning can’t be rushed. The final product can’t be rushed and won’t be finished before it is ready. If it is rushed and pushed, the final product may not be the quality that I want.

Just as some people can appreciate pottery or oil painting differently, the same way students can be viewed an appreciated. Some are going to be college bound and some may become skilled manual laborers but all are needed in our society.

Yes, I can truly see that teaching is an art and can be appreciated.

Image: 'El Alma del Ebro'
Found on

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