How Two Former Students Gained the Tools They Need to Educate Others
The decision to become an art teacher doesn’t always start early in your college education experience, and while it may seem daunting to switch gears after graduation, there are some considerations to make a transition into an art education career much easier.
Learning how to become an art teacher without an education degree requires a passion for sharing what you know with others, a love of continuously building your own artistic talent and a commitment to learning. Many states require at least a master’s degree to become a certified teacher, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need a bachelor’s in the same field as your master’s. This makes it highly beneficial to combine professional experience in related areas, such as working in a museum or art studio, with the completion of an art education master’s program.
If your academic and professional backgrounds are in something as vastly different as finance or biochemistry, an art education master’s program can develop the skills you need to become an art educator—whether you want to become an art teacher in a formal education setting or teach art in other environments.
We recently followed up with two UF online Master of Arts in Art Education (MAAE) graduates, who have no education backgrounds, to discuss how the MAAE prepared them to excel as art educators.
In this article, Amanda Melanson and Drew Mulligan, share how the online MAAE program has helped develop and shape their professional goals.
Amanda Melanson graduated in 2018 and is a museum professional at the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum in North Carolina and the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville. View her research interests and findings, a link to her MAAE capstone project and other topics on her website.
Drew Mulligan graduated in 2018 and is an art teacher at Arlington Public Schools in Virginia. Read more about her experience in the MAAE program and view photos from her academic journey on her website.
Former MAAE Students Share Their Stories: How to Succeed in Art Education
For Amanda, her desire to become an art educator started while she was working in museums and she realized that despite her experience in curatorial research and collection management, she lacked a connection to the education department.
“You can excel in this program even if you don’t have a teaching background,” says Amanda. “I came into the program with a background in studio courses and art history, and a goal of learning how to take the information I knew and share it with others.”
Drew, who has a bachelor’s degree in photography, found herself in a similar position to Amanda.
“I didn’t start out thinking I would become a teacher, so this program really provided a new perspective in regard to my teaching practice and helped me to become a better educator,” says Drew.
UF’s MAAE Curriculum Takes Art Education Careers to the Next Level
Despite their varying academic backgrounds, both Amanda and Drew found a supportive online learning environment at UF that provided them with the tools they need to educate others.
“I learned to create curricula for museum lectures and field trips, community-based programming, and even exhibition education,” says Amanda, who also recognized the benefit of these lessons for more traditional educators. “All the while, my peers were learning about different techniques for teaching within a school classroom.”
Drew also benefitted from coursework in curriculum development, saying that because she never studied education before beginning the online MAAE program, she never knew how to write a lesson plan.
“I knew I had the right components, I just didn’t know how to properly organize them,” says Drew. “The Curriculum in Teaching Art course gave me confidence in writing lesson and unit plans in a way that helped me take these skills and themes to the next level.”
Meeting Mentors and Colleagues in the Online Master’s Program
Whether you’re like Drew, living over 700 miles north of UF’s campus, or like Amanda, who traveled throughout the east coast during her time as an MAAE student, the online learning environment still allows for a collaborative culture that leads to a life-long network of art educators.
“Even though the program is online, I felt very connected with my peers and instructors,” says Amanda. “I left with a network of passionate, intelligent colleagues and mentors that I will continue to connect with long after graduation.”
Drew also found that not only were her faculty and peers easy to get in touch with, they were also very eager to help bring clarity to her work and provide constructive feedback when needed.
With a Residential Summer Studio component, MAAE students can form lasting bonds with their peers by meeting face-to-face. Described as “transformative,” these on-campus courses provide fully equipped, collaborative studio settings working in studio spaces.
The Online Master of Arts in Art Education (MAAE) from the University of Florida
The online MAAE program engages students purposefully in art education theory and practice, contemporary art, and their own studio work. Our dynamic online learning environment fosters meaningful interaction among you and your classmates and our world-class faculty. You flourish academically and creatively among a supportive, close-knit community of art educators, artists, cultural workers and scholars.
Visualize the online MAAE experience and hear from another student through the informative video below.
To learn more about University of Florida’s online Master of Arts in Art Education download a brochure, fill out the fields below or call us at (877) 360-1859 to talk with one of our enrollment advisors.
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