Art Teacher, Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts
My best moments as a teacher by far are when my students coach and teach each other. I am especially fond of a memory at SA Crown Heights with a kindergarten class that was using paints. At one table, one of the students accidentally spilled the water cup, which soaked almost everyone's work. The students at the table, without so much as a sound, very quickly began to clean things up. One scholar went and got more water, another got new papers for each artist to start over, and a third got rags to wipe down the table and floor. When they went to start again, one of the scholars said, "Please be more careful. This is how you wash out your brush so the water doesn't tip over." I watched from the other side of the room beaming as students took full ownership over their learning, their studio, and were so incredibly kind to one another after this accident. Watching the students interact this way, I was filled to the brim with happiness and joy, and I also felt incredibly accomplished as a teacher for setting up a studio in which kindness, respect, and care are at the forefront of learning.