Mr. William Beckham- Art Teacher Of The Quarter
Our featured Art Educator this Spring Season is Mr. Beckham from Charles Pinckney Elementary in SC.
How long have you been teaching art?
I have been an art teacher for the past 12 years! :-)
What grades do you teach?
I teach 3rd – 5th grade and I currently teach over 1300 students every seven school days!!!
So what was it that sparked your interest in becoming an art educator?
I started out my life as an architect. After a few years working in a firm I found that I wanted to do something where I felt I was making a bigger difference in the world. (As an architect I spent most of my time drawing construction details on buildings that were not very significant and things that thirty years from now will not matter that much). As a teacher, I spend my time encouraging, teaching, and investing in the lives of children and I see a more direct impact and long lasting difference.
Do you have a particular art medium you like to use in your classroom?
I feel like oil pastels, colored pencils, and water color pencils are the easiest medium for my students to have the success they want. They love painting (and I love for them to do it!) but they struggle with controlling the brush and the colors since they have less experience with them.
Having taught for a while now at a variety of grade levels, you must have some interesting stories. Tell us one of the more memorable things that a student has done in one of your classes?
There are lots! I love when students who I taught years ago come back to visit. Just recently a student spent her “senior cut day” visiting me and assisting me as a volunteer. It is so much fun to see someone who was 11 the last time you saw them show up as young adults and still have that spark that you saw years ago. I also remember the difficult days when students have suffered a loss or have a problem in their life and they come to me for help. I don’t remember those times with joy but they certainly reaffirm why I am here.
Is there anything you would like to share with your peers?
First… You have to care more about kids than art. –To explain that… I am an art teacher because I love art, but I chose to become a teacher because I love children and believe that they need adults in their life who are positive and encouraging. Caring about kids is the most important thing!
The second thing is that art should be fun. I have been to art classrooms where students are not allowed to speak or move, and the kids don’t appear to be enjoying themselves at all. In my class kids are smiling, engaged, listening to music, (which often leads to impromptu singing and crazy dance moves) and they love art class! Art should be something they look forward to all week!