Teaching Philosophy


My commitment in pursuing the ceramic arts as a profession originated from profound high school and baccalaureate educational experiences.  Unrelenting commitment, encouragement and respect from my teachers affected my outlook on the arts and the importance art and quality education can have on one’s life.  With this in mind, I have been highly motivated to instruct students during my three years while pursuing an MFA in Ceramics, and currently while teaching as an adjunct instructor at McHenry County College since 2005.  While at MCC, the interaction with students and influential faculty has provided me with an invaluable opportunity to develop my own successful methods of teaching. 

From my experiences teaching at MCC over the past four years, I have found that a key objective as a ceramics instructor is to provide a positive, supportive classroom environment in which students pursue excellence with enjoyment and commitment. Clearly demonstrating basic fundamentals through advanced concepts while working with clay and glazes assures that students regardless of experience and educational background have the opportunity to fully develop quality well-planned meaningful art. Varied approaches beyond solely producing projects need to be an integral part of each student’s experience in the classroom. Historical and contemporary perspectives need to be introduced through videos, PowerPoint presentations, lectures, reading assignments, research, demonstrations, and the viewing of actual ceramic objects. In addition to regular day to day activities a classroom atmosphere should exist where students will be encouraged to learn from their peers, from visiting artists, freely exploring individual or group ideas, and sharing their work outside of the classroom though student and professional exhibitions.

It is critical that beginning ceramics students be taught the basic fundamentals of working with clay in order to have an understanding of not only the making of objects, but also glazing, finishing and evaluating the success of the work. Forming and manipulating clay, coil building, wet and leather hard slab construction, glaze application, and wheel throwing are introduced at the beginning level however these processes are more intricately explored in higher level ceramics classes. 

In my classroom, strategies for student success will be multifaceted and constant throughout a semester.  Individual non-formal meetings and supportive group critiques will be used to help students with a variety of learning styles to objectively view their work allowing them to make decisions on how best to further develop the strengths in their artistic undertaking. Understanding why important contributing artists in the field of ceramics make their art will be addressed to assist individual students in pursuing their own idea driven meaningful work.  Students will have the opportunity to learn how to digitally photograph their art.  They will be encouraged to submit art to the McHenry County College Annual Student Exhibition, Skyway, Voices, and other regional and professional exhibitions. In addition to shows, higher level students have the opportunity to become members to the Clay Worker’s Guild of Illinois.  Successfully, my former students have exhibited in student MCC exhibitions, the Guild member’s show and recently one student was selected to have work published in the prestigious internationally distributed book 500 Chargers and Platters published by Lark Books in 2008.