As a child I always imagined I would become an art teacher. Obviously, this never happened. For years I wanted to teach high school art, where I feel the talented artists emerge to begin on their journey of creativity and depictions of the world that within their high school years they oftentimes are still very much unaware of and are beginning to explore.
Working with Tresta Wightman, the high school art teacher at Unadilla Valley, I would have to say was the most fun and interesting place I could have picked to spend my morning.
As the students filed in, it was easy to see that Tresta knows her students well. They seem to have a rapport that in my years of high school I did not often see.
The jokes, the laughter, the instruction and the overall disarray – it was exactly what I pictured when I imagine a high school art room. Tresta, who seems at ease in the rush of students, the numerous questions thrown at her, the different projects the students are working on and the chaos of it all, says every day in the art room is interesting. “You never know what they will come up with,” she said.
The students, ranging from freshmen to seniors, not only confide in this teacher for her artistic input, but for life skills as well. “Ms. Wightman is awesome,” was the sentence I think I heard the most while there.
Tresta explains within her six years at UV she has taught many varieties of art including studio, ceramics, art history, basic art, basic design, independent art and portfolio art. “I also do the yearbook and an art enrichment course after school with the younger students,” said Tresta. “We do all kinds of messy projects in the enrichment class.”
Getting ready for the upcoming senior citizen dinner, Tresta said had taken a toll on her art room and her schedule as she along with any student who could lend a hand have been making papier mache snowmen for what seemed to be decades.
With papier mache material along the side of the room and large and small snowmen littering the floors, the counters, the desks and the closets, it looked as though I would have my work cut out for me that morning...