By: Kat Neilan
“I want to create a learning environment for my students where there are no boundaries and they can do and make anything they imagined. To be comfortable and expressive as they dig deep into their creative side as I stand aside and let them do their thing. Letting students decide their projects is key in the classroom.”
Karl Bayek, an art teacher at Wethersfield High School aspires to teach young adults how to discover their passions through art. Art is a therapeutic gateway for people to convey their true emotions and adoration for it without rules or qualifications to follow. Art has no grade, art has no rules, the vision you create is the rulebook to art.
When listening to Mr. Bayek I thought to myself, how does one grade and judge a students art if there is no REAL criteria to art? Turns out, when coming to grading art it is all mostly based on how much effort was shown in the piece. No, not every line has to be crisp and every painting can’t be Picasso’s. It is simply how much passion the person laid out on the canvas.
Teaching a class full of rebellious, hormone raging teenagers is no walk in the park. If anything it is more like a frantic sprint. Trying to keep up with the new fads to prove that you are not a dinosaur fossil of a teacher like the students might think you are. The act of teaching itself is a position that is not appreciated enough in this society and adding the fact that the students are teenagers is what makes it even more uncredited. A teenager’s mindset is that they know what’s best and that they are at the age where being told what to do is a BIG danger zone. One command turns into an hours long sessions of arguing why they shouldn’t do/listen to what you have to say, now put those students in an art room.
When it comes to art, the majority of students turn their heads the other way and run for the hills. Their family mistakes their sailboat for a pancake on a stick during Pictionary, utterly discouraging their confidence in their art. Now I’m not blaming Pictionary for the dislike for high school art class, teens simply either have no artistic abilities at all and have no interest in the classroom or they want to learn and expand their knowledge more in the classroom...so how do you balance this out?
“Creating projects where there is just a basic set of qualifications to follow is what I think is the best way to teach students. From that point I can receive many different perspectives on the idea and see how different each art piece is from the students.” From this interview it is clear that art is a form of expression. Teaching others how to do art doesn’t exist but instead expanding the depth of the creative mind can allow students to do the teaching themselves. The art teacher is in the passenger seat of the car and students are the driver. They can make anything their mind desires with the help of a professional to tweak out the details.
Although art personally is far from my strong suit, discussing the performance of teaching this free spirited skill was really fascinating. Teachers alone deserve more respect professionally and personally for their great work but the extensive lengths art teachers go for their students to help envision their ideas is what makes the dream work in the classroom. I know I have a safe outlet to go to in my school where I can make any artistic idea come to life with the help of Mr. Bayek’s selfless efforts to make each student feel in control.
Written, edited, and produced by Wethersfield High School students, covering all news and events.