When I asked Mr. R why he became an art teacher, he had a very long explanation. He gave me a lot of background stories on his education in high school and college, and basically told me it was because he always loved art, and this is where his life took him.
Mr. R is a great teacher. I know this in only two hours of observing him. His students seem to respect him not only for his artistic merit (he has a BFA in Painting and a MFA in Ceramics) but for his demeanor. Mr. R doesn't overuse compliments, rather, he uses constructive language and a lot of questions to get his students thinking. When he does give a compliment, or a good critique, it means a lot to his students. This is something that I would love to learn to do, as I know I tend to say "Good work" and "Nice job" too much! For young children, I think this is a good habit, but for high school students, I agree with Mr. R that they need to be their own judge of their work.
Throughout college, he enjoyed his career, but was still on the fence about teaching. For his practicum experience (like I am doing now) he had to have 50 hours in the classroom. He was told by his cooperating teachers to sit in the corner and take notes. This made him very intimidated because he couldn't get any hands on teaching in the 50 hours he had to observe! Even now, he is very adamant about his practicum students and student teachers to be very hands-on because of this. During his observations, he was in math, science and social studies courses. He rarely sat in on an art class, if ever. He was told that his experience would tell him if he wanted to a teacher or not, even though he had been in the art education program for three years already. Although he was intimidated and scared, he stuck with it. In his student teaching experiences, he had a negative experience with many university personnel and was actually withdrawn from his placement! Eventually he worked to be placed somewhere else, and after years of struggle in the program, he graduated and applied for the job at the local high school.
Right out of college he subbed for almost a year in order to gain experience. He actually applied to be a truck driver, and due to having a ticket on his record (they wouldn't hire anyone with a speeding violation or anything) he didn't get the job. He said, "If I would have gotten that job, I am positive that I would be a truck driver for the rest of my life". I think I am lucky to be observing someone who has overcome a lot of trials in his professional life. He's had to work hard to be where he is! Although I don't think he is the type of person to declare his love for working with students and seeing their minds working and learning, I do think that he has a passion for what he does, and that is all that matters!