Congratulations to our Sharon McCoubrey Award in Visual Arts recipient and 2021/2022 Bachelor of Education graduate, Alex Corrie!
This is what her nominator had to say:
“Alex has integrated the arts into her instruction from day one of her Internship. One example. During the unit on Seasons with her grade one class for her culminating assessment she created an activity using multiple small art supplies and had the students select from them and create an image of their favorite season. She then had students describe their work as she ‘interviewed’ them using an iPad and using thoughtful prompts to illicit deeper understandings. The activity was taken up by all students with many achieving what appeared to be a true creative ‘flow’ state.”
Why did you decide to enter the field of teaching?
I decided to enter the field of teaching because I’m passionate about forming connections with people; specifically with children. To nurture and support them to build their self-esteem and their confidence, it’s incredibly gratifying.
I am an artist as well as an educator. I look forward to integrating visual arts into my teaching practice, and having it be cross-curricular; such as using art to teach social studies or science. It’s meaningful to me to help others express themselves through art. For some people, when they were a child, art may not have been a fun or pleasant experience. Now as an adult they’re worried about what other people will think of their art — and I want to help change that. I hope to use art as a tool to build self-esteem and offer someone another way to express themselves. I want to encourage my students to keep that same enthusiasm for art that you have when you’re five years old. I hope any students I teach will be instilled with a sense of positivity and optimism about what they can do in art and in life.
What was your experience at the Okanagan School of Education (OSE) like?
Even though our courses were online, we still had lots of opportunities to go out in the field and to gain experience. One of my favourite experiences was our Community Field Experience, where we partnered with community organizations. I was paired with the Vernon Art Gallery and that opened me to ways of thinking about education, and how visual arts education can be used to help broaden knowledge. That was quite a transformative moment for me. In both my practicums, I had amazing mentor teachers and field advisors. I enjoyed building connections with people and especially enjoyed the hands-on learning. As much as you learn in a lecture about pedagogies, it’s a really interesting experience to be out in the field and experiencing those methods and practices first hand.
What does receiving the award mean to you?
I feel very honoured to have received this award. It’s amazing simply that someone noticed my passion for teaching and visual arts, and put in the time and effort to nominate me. Just to be nominated is incredibly impactful. It’s hard to express how grateful you are when you receive an award, as it’s not only the recognition, but also the freedom you feel from some of the financial stressors. It allows you to focus more on your education and passions, and that’s really valuable.
What advice do you have for future Bachelor of Education students?
You never know where opportunities are going to lead you. If you can embrace them and go with the flow, and are open and receptive to constructive critiques, some may lead you to a future career, friendships, mentor relationships or you never know where else.
About the Sharon McCoubrey Award in Visual Arts Teaching
Associate Professor Emeritus Sharon McCoubrey created the award to be presented to a Bachelor of Education student who has demonstrated leadership and passion for creativity with a commitment to advancing the teaching of visual arts in elementary schools.