updated Personal Statement / curriculum vitae / reflective presentation
May 5, 2011 § Leave a comment
I’m currently studying for a BA Honors Degree in Photography at Coventry University, having previously completed a 1 year foundation course in Art and Design. After finishing my degree I would like to take a Masters in photography followed by a PGCE teaching course. I have a real passion for working within the arts and enjoy being in a creative work environment. I am organised, reliable, hard working and very self driven as I need to be when specialising in photography, which is a predominately self employed profession and also key in completing a degree course . I am able to take varied responsibilities as they are given and am usually prepared for anything, which I have learnt when volunteering with students, as they can be unpredictable from time to time. I pride my self in being punctual and always putting in 100% to my work. I am enthusiastic about working with students and feel this opportunity would also benefit me in my future career.
As a mentor, having a wide range of experience of methods, techniques and materials is key. I feel I have a broad knowledge of this that I have gained through my years of formal education and university studies. During this time I have gained experience with a differing range of materials and the techniques that come with each of them, such as how to use clay, plaster and modrock as well as different mediums such as oils, watercolour, pastels and ink together with different printing methods such as lino and block printing. My photography experience is very wide and covers both the taking of photographs and the post processing of these either via digital techniques or through the traditional developing and printing process. Through this, I have become confidant with the processes and chemicals used in the dark room space, how to mix them for use and store them appropriately. In gaining this experience I have also had to become familiar with the health and safety aspects of the darkroom.
I already have had experience working within the art department in a secondary school when I volunteered to help out on a breakthrough day with year sevens. This involved preparing and setting up and equipment that would be used for each lesson and ensuring that it was ready on the tables before the start of lesson. It was then a case of settling the students down as they came into the class and assisting the teacher in keeping the students on track with their activity and helping encourage and inspire them to try different methods. After the lesson, I was responsible for cleaning up and preparing for the next group. At the end of the day I was given the task of organising all of the work into a display for an assembly.
I have also volunteered for a number of educational activities
Coventry Schools Arts Day: Working with primary school children for a day of arts, giving demonstrations, assisting in outdoor raku kiln firing and other activities that had been set up, organising equipment for each activity and helping the pupils to stay on track with the task in hand followed by cleaning up after the events
Help with a secondary schools students art and photography gallery show. Working with students to arrange, mount their work and prepare it for the evenings viewing by parents and teachers as well as moving equipment around and setting up a small area for my university work to showcase the sort of things you can expect to be doing at university.
I have visited secondary school to talk to members of the 6th form that were considering going on to university, explaining what happens at university within the art and photography departments, answering any questions and preparing leaflets to hand out if they were interested in visiting the university open days. After this I discovered that some of the 6th form did make the transaction to university enrolling on the foundation art and design course and I kept in contact with them asking how they were doing and visiting their end of year show.
While working through my A Levels I held a group crit with Year 12 Art and Photography students, discussing their work and what they had achieved so far. This helped the students to take interest in each others work, to talk about, give advice and voice opinions openly and constructively. Through this I had to facilitate the group so they could help each other move forward as well as using my own knowledge to further their work and make useful suggestions.
I have given lessons to Years11& 12 students on how a dark room works and given demonstrations to help them to process a photo each so they can begin to feel confidant about using the dark room in the future. I was also able to assist some of the photography students that were struggling to develop a photo, showing what they were doing wrong and how they could improve it for next time they used the dark room.
During my photography degree I have gained a wide experience of different software for example Paint Shop Pro, Adobe Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, and camera support software for both Canon and Nikon. I have also developed a good understanding of media files and have experience of a variety of both stills and video cameras. I am also able to use a range of printers, from small home printers to large industrial printers depending on the scale of the work being produced.
During my education I have built up a large knowledge base of different artists and photographers that work in different ways and would be able to use this to direct them to certain books and websites which would assist students with research and references in for their work.
While being a student at Coventry University I have access to a loan shop of photography equipment and would be able to borrow from here to give students demonstrations of medium format cameras and other photographic equipment that they would not normally have access to. I feel I could also act as an outside artist/photographer (artist in residence) showing what I’m working on and inspiring pupils and showing them new techniques as I experience them.
I have recently undergone 20 days working in a secondary school with GCSE and A level students mentoring them and giving them support and advice with there art and photography, setting them tagets and breaking down the work load with them to make it more manageable. I also spent part of the 20 days showing students how to use Photoshop, silk screen printing, painting and other different mark making techniques to improve there work.
I am currently working as an art and photography technician in a secondary school, my job involves preparation of materials and equipment, cleaning and preparation of kiln management, ordering of materials and resources, displays and arranging exhibitions, help with development of students photographic and art projects and working with students on a one to one basis.
In addition to the technicians job I am also running an after school photography class for 2 hours a week with KS4 and A level students, building up their knowledge of photography from the basics to the more advanced over the coming weeks, and for 2 hours during the school day I have started taking A level art students for a lesson in Photoshop to help them with a photographic based module they are currently sitting
Whitley Abbey Business & Enterprise College Sept 2001 – June 2008
- GCSE Math’s -C
- GCSE English lit- B
- GCSE English language-C
- GCSE Double award science -C
- GCSE History -D
- GCSE Art -A
- GCSE Business studies-C
- GCSE Product design- A
- GCSE Spanish-D
- AS Photography-B
- AS Art-B
- AS Business studies-A
- AS Product design-C
- A2 Business studies- B
- A2 Art- C
- A2 Photography- B
- A2 Product design- C
- Foundation art and design course- Merit
Reflective portfolio presentation
Now I have come to the end of my professional experience I can now reflect of what I have learnt while working as an art and photography mentor within a school. I started this professional experience because after my degree I plan on training to become a secondary school art and photography teacher, and so I choose to mentor art and photography students to gain experience and also aid me for when I apply for different teaching courses, because they all require a level of past experience. Before this experience I had done a small amount of voluntary work at schools but nothing like this, in this work experience I was able to really experience what a career in teaching would be like.
At the start of my experience I started with doing mentoring sessions with the students and working out how to communicate with them and look at their work and get them to openly talk to me about their work to me as an outsider, but after getting to know the year 11 group that I have worked with over the experience and I’ve really enjoyed seeing their work and hearing what they have to say, it’s really refreshing to hear their own ideas and concept surrounding their work. After meeting the students a couple of times I decided that it was beneficial that I put together a mentoring form so that I could quickly keep updated with each student since there was over 30 and then keep them all on task with different suggestions and targets I set for them enabling them to get work done. All the time I was talking about artists and photographers and different ideas, I found that I was also searching for new ideas or being inspired by the students and this created a very active and creative atmosphere to work within, this is one of the main reason for why I have decided to go into teaching because of creative atmosphere and the constant talk of artists and photographers.
At the start of this experience I was slightly worried with interfering with the curriculum guide lines for the Btec’s and gcse’s that the students were taking. my line manager had given me the guide lines of the courses and the mark schemes so I had more of an idea what I could direct the students to do, this also really helped when I tried to structure targets for the students that would enable them to hit certain levels on the mark scheme. I was also worried about setting targets to hard or talking to the students in a way that they would not understand and lose them in a discussion and they wouldn’t understand that I was talking about, but this was never the case and if I ever did use language they didn’t understand they would always question what I meant or I would ask them if they understood. When looking thought students work I would occasionally come across some students that had no work to show and were behind, I thought I would of found this hard to deal with because I wouldn’t be able to feed back to the student, but I actually found that taking this challenge of board I really enjoyed helping the student to find a direction with their work and getting them interested with the project, by breaking the project down for them into small targets and things to get done by the end of the week they started producing work.
During the professional experience I was then offered a job at the school as an art technician and I permanent mentor to the students, I took the job and started working straight away, I was really please I was offered the job because now I can go on to engage in more experience in working within a school and that will go towards getting on a teaching course and I am now getting paid to do it too. It now involves a lot more too, as well as mentoring the students and keeping them on track with their work I will now have to keep art stock up and prepare all equipment for lessons and assist students when using certain materials. I think this is the best thing that could have come out of this professional experience.
Each week I had to catch up with my line manager which was the head of the art department and we would go over what would be happening each week during the school lessons and which student he would want me to work most closest to and what sort of direction he wanted me to direct them in. Always keeping up to date with him ensured that we both knew what was going on, especially when two weeks there was a shortage of staff in the art department and cover teachers were having to take the lessons working closely with the head of art I was able to take control of one lesson and start it off, taking registers and keeping the lesson on track which took a lot of stress of him when trying to plan and organise work for the cover lessons. I think by doing this it proved to my line manager that I was able to control a lesson and keep it on track which is why he offered me a job as an art and photography technician.
After the Easter holidays I was then asked if I was interested in doing a after school photography class with a few pupils that were really interested in the subject and wanted to maybe take it when they when up to 6th form, I took up the opportunity, and my line manager has made sure I get paid as a trainee teacher. I started to make lessons plans so I had something set down each lesson that the students could do and they would get something out of each lesson, this has been a really useful learning curve, learning how to do lesson plans and take a lessons each week, it’s really enjoyable passing on my own knowledge to student, and I think the experience has defiantly shown me why I decided to do a degree in photography, and I really like that I can excite other student with photography and even help them decide if they want to go on and aim for a career in photography. I have defiantly been able to transfer my skills when teaching these lessons, even my line manager has been getting involved in these lessons because he is a arts based teacher so showing him how to use Photoshop to dark room work. The school has a fully working darkroom but it hasn’t been used in over 3 years now because there hasn’t been any staff that are able to teach dark room work, but since being their I have set the darkroom up again and got it up and running and in working order and I am now using it in a few of my lessons.
I have enjoyed the experiences but there has been challenges along the way, for example getting students that don’t want to work to get started, or students that misbehave in lesson, I overcame this by first asking the student to stop what they were doing and asking if they needed any help with their work, if they carried on after that I would then ask them to move seats away from friends that they would mess around with, normally most students would then get on with their work after this. Most of the time I found that the student was misbehaving because they wanted attention and didn’t know what to do, so when I sat down with them told them what they didn’t to do and was taken away from the distraction of their peers they then got on with their work, and made the atmosphere in the classroom a lot more relaxed. If the student carried on misbehaving then I was to fetch my line manager to deal with the student, luckily this never happened and the year 11’s and 6th form I took were really well behaved.
Throughout the whole experience I could not of asked for more of good of experience than I have received and will carry of receiving thought work. This has benefited me and now when applying for different teaching courses I will be able to list this as experience. This experience has also made me lot more confident and now I have got lessons planned out and monitored by my line manager, I now feel that I could take a lesson and I also really enjoy teaching, before this experience I had not taken a proper lesson where I have stood in front of a class and taught and then prepared work for the students as well as setting homework, and this has confirmed that I can do it and would defiantly want to progress in this field.