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Face of the CVPA: Q&A with Kristen Hare RU'14

Kristen Hare

Kristen Hare as photographed by Elizabeth Dreher.

Kristen Hare is a senior art education major and student teacher. We asked her several questions about her thoughts on art, RU and student teaching.

1.    Where are you from originally?

A: I am from Henrico, Va. I was born and raised in Henrico County just a few miles from Richmond.

2. What made you choose Radford University to pursue a degree in art education?

A: When I was a junior in high school my art teacher influenced me to consider art education as a career. I came to Radford University to visit the campus that spring, and when I met Dr. Richard Bay (in charge of the program), my decision was made. I not only belonged at RU, I belonged in the art education program. I could tell that Radford had faculty and staff that related to the students and cared about their students' education. They were enthusiastic, helpful and encouraging. RU was the right size and the right fit for me. I am glad I came to visit RU five years ago. It helped solidify my decision regarding where I would spend my college career.

3. What do you love about your major?

A: I chose to start my resume with a quote from Georgia O'Keeffe that says, "I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for." These words remind me of why I love art education. They also remind me of what I love about art itself. I love to try new forms of art from drawing in pen and ink; to taking photographs of people, places, and events; to creating the unusual art forms from items found around me. I also love that people of all ages, from the youngest child holding a crayon to an elderly person, can enjoy art. They can express themselves with it, they can contemplate on it, or they can just take pleasure in looking at it. It is a way to tie us all together.

4. In your own words, what is art education specifically?

A: When I break down this question into parts first looking at the word “education,” I envision ways that knowledge or information can be passed on from one person to another, or from one generation to another. Then, when I reflect on the word "art" I usually think about the visual expression of a person's imagination that is presented in tangible form. Yet, the concept of art goes beyond just the painting, weaving, drawing, photograph or clay piece made into a bowl. It is also the way a person feels about what he or she is seeing or participating in creating. Therefore, “art education" is what can be taught, learned, created or experienced while studying all parts of a person's creative vision. Art is within us. It is all around us and it is what endures from one generation to another. When we study art or create it, each of us is giving a piece of our own identity and imagination for others to ponder.

5. How long have you been a student teacher at Christiansburg Elementary?

A: I have been a student teacher at Christiansburg Elementary since January 2014, and I have loved every minute of it. I also had the opportunity to be a blocking student for two semesters at McHarg Elementary. A group of RU art education majors went with Dr. Bay every Friday afternoon to provide art instruction to kindergarteners, first and second graders. This experience gave me the confidence I needed to transition to student teaching.

6. What is the most rewarding thing about student teaching?

A: The most rewarding part of student teaching is seeing the expressions on my students' faces when they have created something they are proud of. I love it when they have succeeded for themselves. They have such contagious enthusiasm when you tell them that what they have created is a job well done. It is also wonderful when you see that they appreciate, recognize and know about other works of art that they can identify with other artists. Another reward is that as an art teacher you are constantly learning and discovering something new each and every day.

7. What challenges have you had to face within your major at RU and as a student teacher?

A: The main challenge that most students face, no matter their major, is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. While obtaining your college degree there is a path that one needs to travel and many times you are confused about what turns you need to take. It is great that we have academic advisors and mentoring staff to assist us along the way. You spend time on the things you care about, and sometimes you do not see the results of your hard work right away. It is important to keep reminding yourself that things will work out if you put your time and effort into them. You just have to keep on moving forward.

8. What do you hope the children you teach now and in the future gain from learning from you?

A: I hope that the students I teach now and in the future understand that art is a part of all human beings. I hope that my students can acquire a better understanding of the form and content of some kinds of art. I hope they can see my enthusiasm for the creation of art and for my appreciation in various forms of art. I hope they realize how art can bind us together rather than divide us as many other things in life do. The word "heart" brings to mind many emotions and ideas. When I think of the word "heart" I see the word "art" within it. This simple example is a way to convey the concept that "art" is within us all. That is what I want my student to always remember.

9. If you could choose, what age of students would you like to teach?

A: At this time I think I would really enjoy teaching any or all of the grades from Kindergarten to eighth grade. These are the students with which I have interacted with thus far. However, for the second half of my student teaching experience, I will be at Blacksburg High School. I am excited about this opportunity. I look forward to interacting with students that have chosen to take art. I am also excited about the opportunity to learn more and to be further challenged as a student teacher. The wonderful thing about student teaching in the Art Education Program is that you get the chance to teach multiple grade levels. This aids in determining what teaching style you like best and with whom you may better relate.

10. What are your plans for after you graduate?

A: This summer is my third year of being a swim team coach. Swimming is another passion of mine and I look forward to this experience very much. I will also be looking for a full-time art teaching position for the 2014-15 school year. I am keeping an open mind, and an open heart, as I transition into this new and exciting chapter of my life.

Mar 3, 2014
Sabrina Anderson

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