Meet the Art Educator Preparing Her Students for Art Class—and for Life

Jae Won Shim strives to help her students feel empowered, both in and out of her classroom. In order to become the most effective teacher for her students, Shim completed a Master of Arts in Art Education from Adelphi University.

In this alumni spotlight, we hear from Shim regarding her approach to art education, her decision to earn a master’s degree from Adelphi and what surprising skill she discovered during her time in the MA in Art Education program.

Career Insights for Art Educators

Tell us about your professional path so far.
I am a full-time art teacher at Brentwood Union Free School District in New York, and I work with 6th through 8th graders. I love my job—it is truly a blessing to work with future generations and to be a positive and supportive influence in my students’ lives.

What educational practices have you and your peers found interesting?
SIOP training provided by my district focuses on finding ways to support students as a whole, and coming up with ways to provide various approaches to getting students involved and engaged. Also, Leader In Me / 7 Habits training helped us to identify habits and practices to empower students into becoming leaders that are in control of their lives.

Could you tell us about your teaching philosophy?
My philosophy in teaching art is that my role is to support students by helping them learn artistic behaviors and gain skills that are applicable in school and in life. This includes the ability to visualize the end goal, stay on task, think creatively, come up with solutions, try different methods and approaches, be patient with themselves, and identify strengths and challenges. I want to help my students learn to empower themselves so that they are in control of the results they produce, and so they are able to apply this philosophy to all aspects of their academic and home lives.

The Adelphi Art Education Master’s Experience

Why did you decide to pursue a degree in art education? Why was Adelphi’s online program the right fit for you?
I wanted to become an art teacher so I could combine my artistic skills with my desire to help and empower young people. I selected Adelphi for its reputation, flexibility, quality of professors and price. I also appreciated the support and dedication I received from the admissions staff. Clearly, Adelphi was the best choice.

What did you hope to achieve from the MA in Art Education program going in? In what ways did Adelphi assist you in achieving those goals?
I hoped to learn different approaches in teaching, teaching art and empowering youth with the power to create. Adelphi’s coursework helped me broaden my knowledge of how to support students in different ways, how to engage and involve students, and how to have fun teaching at the same time.

What stuck with you from the program? Do you have a favorite moment, such as an interaction with a faculty member or a particularly engaging project?
Rob Linne’s Youth Literature course was excellent. It exposed me to books that I otherwise would not have read, and it was nice to write as a part of that course. I discovered that I am a good writer. I wrote a piece about a childhood experience, and the feedback that I got from Rob was so heartfelt and real. He had taken the time to read the entirety of my writing and not only gave me support but also validated my feelings from that time period and how it affected me as a person. Being able to teach young people effectively means that you are able to make a connection. This taught me that no matter what age you are, childhood is a vulnerable time, and having my feelings validated by my professor was so meaningful to me, even as an adult. I strive to give my students the same dedication and support that Rob gave me.

What are the most valuable things you learned in the program?
Sometimes, you might not see that you are being a positive influence, but it’s important to continue to give support, respect, and positive reinforcements to students. Even if you don’t see it right away, you are making a positive impact in students’ lives. Being a teacher is a way to give back to the world, be a positive influence in people’s lives, stay connected to how the world changes, and change and progress yourself.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
The world needs dedicated, kind teachers—teachers who have empathy and the ability to connect with different personalities from different walks of life. Teaching is a way to spread positivity in the world. You get to compliment students everyday for what they do well and help them figure out what they find challenging. To be a part of each student’s growth and positive self-worth is truly an honor.

About Adelphi’s Online Master of Arts in Art Education

Adelphi University’s online Master of Arts in Art Education (M.A. in Art Ed) program is suitable for recent college graduates, current teachers or career changers. By the time you graduate this two-year program, you’ll be ready to complete the requirements of New York State Visual Arts Pre-K–12 teaching certification.
Along the way you’ll learn methods for nurturing creativity through flexible online courses taught by experienced faculty, customizing your curriculum with a wide range of electives. By completing hands-on fieldwork anywhere in the State of New York, you’ll put the concepts you’ve learned to work in the classroom.

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