Dee Fontans Statement on her priorities as a teacher and educator.

My role as an educator is to introduce the ability to understand problem solving though a logical and a well organized process of thinking providing the means to research and develop ideas and concepts. In research, strategies may include reading, exploring history for similar works and ideas, investigating other artists work, looking for patterns and similarities in unexpected places, and watching and communicating well with colleagues. In developing ideas and concepts the student needs to identify and document reasons for making their art.
Drawing is encouraged whenever possible to develop individual marks, lines: an understanding of composition and balance that creates a dialogue to communicate ideas. Helping the student become aware of their interests and strengths enables the individual to express themselves. The process of project planning to meet deadlines creates a professional and structured atmosphere in which to work. Safety in the studio is of great importance to ensure that the individual has the option to continue working in their chosen medium. In the classroom a mutual respect for one another gives the student the support needed to present their work in a professional manner. These skills enable the developing artist to experience success. The consistency of their success builds a positive sense of self. The trust which the students establishes in their decision making enables them to explore more complex and personal areas of their creativity.
My dialogue with a student always starts with the positive aspects of their pieces or work habits. Discussing both strengths and weaknesses encourages communication, making possible a secure and trusting student-teacher relationship. I am open with my professional experience and teach technique to the best of my ability. With an understanding of technical skill the student has the freedom to challenge themselves with conceptual thoughts and imagery and the means with which to create them.
I am concerned with the development of the student. I listen carefully so that my response will address their individuals needs. I encourage them to think of themselves as whole people and remind them that the art they create needs to come from their own desire. I teach performance to prepare them for an active professional live. The classroom experience is set up for interactive dialogue by sharing the responsibility in leadership. The personal knowledge shared in the group is inspiring and builds confidence for all involved.
As an educator I am approachable to all students. I am there to facilitate the needs of these developing artists and help guide them in finding a productive path into their creative process. I also feel this position enables me to awaken within individuals their personal responsibility to the culture. Empowering them through the awareness of the impact they can have in the world community with their art. By encouraging these young artists to make and document work they begin to form history, making visible the symbolism, events and concerns they experience.
I see myself as a role model and support the arts and artists on many different levels. I practice as an educator and an artist, locally, nationally and internationally.
My approach as an artist-jeweller and educator makes a significant difference in the lives of the people I work with. My influence inspires risk taking, creativity, positive self esteem, thinking, a different way of seeing, efficient and safe work habits, the desire to make things, self comfort, awareness, communication and an effective studio environment. I receive a great deal of personal satisfaction with teaching. Because I am of Puerto Rican descent I value strongly the importance of cultural heritage and appreciate what it is like to be a minority enabling me to empathize with minority students in my classes.

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