Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

The Art of Teaching: Teaching as an Entrepreneurial Endeavor

How many of us have caught ourselves questioning the efficacy of our study strategies? I am one of these people, certainly. Oftentimes, purely sitting in a classroom won’t do much more than memorizing concepts for exams, and series of cases aren’t as effective for applying our knowledge as actual world problems are. These problems demand creativity, timely actions, and skills for dealing with a diverse range of customers and associates.

I am currently working on developing a student portal for Van Veen Institute—a non-profit institution focused on international education—in order to provide a smooth experience in education integrated with technology. In addition, I am serving as PR for school and university visits— shadowing the CEO in his works at gathering public opinion, raising awareness of our brand, and in his networking and negotiation endeavors. However, I feel I have not gathered enough thoughts on these areas to write about them in this post just yet, instead I want to share a little bit of my first experiences as a teacher.

With the first two weeks of my internship already past, I came across an issue I had not imagined I would face, as my duty was only to take care of marketing strategies and computer sciences. I noticed a lack in critical and design thinking, so I asked myself: how can I help improve artistic and critical thinking in a class of high school students that did not have a proficient curriculum in the arts? As a passionate artist, I could not just stay stuck in my box of duties and dared to offer a new elective for them. Then, ART101 was born: Special Topics in Fine Arts, ready to provide the broadest range of artistic types for students that may not even know what art is really about.

One of the slides I used in my class on Place & Individual

It is funny that I have studied TKT techniques and concepts since early 2018 but have never applied any in a classroom setting. First things first—obviously after breathing a thousand times because of anxiety—I took notes on the techniques used in art classes around Brazil and found out places for improvement. Next, I noticed that most students do not feel close to the teacher and the content exposed, so I thought: why not bringing arts into their own world?

The “final” product (“final” in quotation marks as every class will bring different thoughts) now blends fashion, visual arts, history, and philosophy. Each class approaches different topics: the first three are on Place & Individual, ARTPOP-POPART, and Still Life. Going further, I noticed many of my students are strong fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race, then we analyzed fashion looks and haute-couture creations from the reality show.

Uyra Sodoma, Brazilian Drag example. Its use in the slides leveraged a discussion that lasted 20 minutes, on the impacts of fashion and visual arts on sustainability and environmental awareness.

I am excited to see where I am headed to with this amazing opportunity. The formal portions of my job are working smoothly as expected, and this class came handy as I am having the chance to learn from and with my students; teaching arts has been thus far the most joyful experience I had this year, and I look forward to sharing more about my endeavors soon.