Through the commitment of childcare workers, afterschool programs, and youth development organizations, the last full week of April is recognized as Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week.
There are, of course, many different stripes of afterschool professionals, but the kind closest to our hearts, and our programs, are Teaching Artists.
Teaching Artist Defined
By definition, Teaching Artists are two-career professionals; these dedicated educators have the skills and talent needed to work both as professional artists in the community and as teachers in the classroom. Another definition we’re fond of (via this link):
A teaching artist is the model of the 21st century artist, and simultaneously, a model for high-engagement learning in education
By no means does artistic skill in a certain medium immediately translate to skill as an educator. Instead, these awesome individuals somehow excel at two professions, possessing the empathy, patience, and communication skills needed to share and teach their passion and art form.
Teaching Artists at Creative Action
Because Teaching Artists are so multifaceted, the field of arts education greatly benefits from them and they are a crucial asset of our organization. Creative Action benefits from having close to 150 of these trained educators and artists, many of whom exhibit art, perform, produce films, and otherwise create art throughout the Austin arts community. In our arts-integrated programs, they work as creators, mentors, leaders, guides, performers, artists, activists, educators, facilitators and allies to youth throughout Central Texas.
Teaching Artists’ role as mentors is no less powerful than their role as educators or artists. Through their confidence and creativity, they inspire students to be “4C students” and show them a path to a engaged life full of art, meaning, and passion. We also strive to hire teaching artists whose backgrounds students can relate to.
Finally, Creative Action Teaching Artists attend ongoing trainings to continue their teaching education. Trainings cover topics like social and emotional learning, restorative justice, instructional practices, and trauma-informed care, as well as arts topics like filmmaking and puppetry.
Want to become a Teaching Artist? Learn more about applying on our Jobs page.
Get to Know Our Teaching Artists
Learn more about some of our awesome Teaching Artists, past and present, through our archive of Teaching Artist Spotlights: