An Artist is an Explorer

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“Pi Phi enhanced my experience of working with kids through philanthropy and also solidified my decision to be an art teacher,” says Kentucky Alpha Rachel Bunger.

Rachel knew she wanted to do something artistic as a career, but as an active participant in various Pi Phi philanthropy events – Lollipops for Literacy, Lemonade for Literacy, Hoops for Halos, Hot Chocolate Sales and Champions Are Readers at a local elementary school, Rachel decided she wanted to pursue art education.

Rachel had a special opportunity as part of the University of Louisville (UL) Honors Program. Rachel participated in the University’s Board of Overseers Mentoring Program that connects UL students with local professionals for one-on-one mentoring. Rachel was matched with Lower School and Middle School Art Instructor Christina Clifford at Louisville Collegiate School. Rachel visited the school three times a month for a whole semester. She spent full days in the classroom and was able to shadow Christina and help create lesson plans.

Initially the students were shy wondering, “who is this?” when Rachel was in the classroom. It all changed during one simple project when the kids were asked to draw an apple. They began to ask Rachel “how do you draw this?” When Rachel successfully created one for them on the blackboard, the kids then asked, “what else can you draw?” What started as something simple, turned into craziness – which finally lead to “draw a mouse…on ice skates!” Rachel said excitedly, “I saw them embrace me being in the classroom and looked to me for help.”

At the end of the semester, Louisville Collegiate School had an outdoor art fair and Christina gave Rachel the responsibility of the elementary school art table. Kids created art using beads, yarn, magazines cutouts and any other supplies they could find. Rachel loves that the kids like being creative with their choices.

The part of teaching Rachel loves the most is when the students do not understand something and the teacher helps them reach that point of understanding. Rachel says “you see things make sense to them and that’s beautiful to see.”

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