Linda Okoth

Upper School Art Teacher, All-School Service Coordinator

There are so many aspects of my job that I love! I treasure that I can be in an environment that celebrates learning. Discovery and wonder are gifts that can only be expressed through learning. I think the school environment is also ideal for celebrating what I don’t know; this inspires my curiosity and willingness to take creative risks. I see myself as a mentor and guide in the classroom, yet I am every bit as much of a learner as every student.

Being in the classroom with students and seeing the evolution of their work is my favorite part of any day. The artistic synergy of student interactions is always joyful. Other parts of the day have their value too. In the morning, I usually make a “to-do” list, and I’m always looking forward to the possibilities of the day. And, who doesn’t love lunch!? This mid-day break is great for connecting with colleagues in other departments or having an impromptu meeting with my fellow art teacher, Catherine Huber. Office Hours is another sweet time of the day. I find inspiration in students who come by, not only to catch up on work but also to create work that exceeds expectations.

My colleague Mrs. Huber developed a project several years ago that I now have the pleasure of teaching in Digital Imaging. It involves creating illustrations, patterns, infographics, and eventually, brand development and marketing for a fruit-related product. It’s always a joy to see students take something as commonplace as a piece of fruit and elevate it to a work of art. Students also start searching out fruits they might not have tried before, such as a star fruit or dragon fruit. Nature provides endless ideas for projects.

I want my students to leave my classes knowing that they have more creative ability available and within themselves than they realize. I want them to surprise themselves! I also hope students take away a greater appreciation of their own voice and vision. A few years ago, a student wrote me an email at the end of the course, in which he described his understanding of this process: “At the start of digital arts, I took a lot of time to develop my art because I tried to rationalize what made good art. Towards the end, I realized that art is more of an intuitive process of creating whatever resonates with you or feels right at the moment. This realization alone made digital arts a very worthwhile class.” Lastly, I hope students take away that they will always have a creative home in B229.

Discovery and wonder are gifts that can only be expressed through learning.