The creativity behind Albert Lea’s art teachers

Published 1:00 pm Sunday, February 26, 2017

They teach art, but what kind of work do these teachers make themselves?

Alissa Sauer

Age: 24

Where do you teach?: I teach at Southwest Middle School, Albert Lea High School and the Area Learning Center. So, I’m the awkward teacher that goes pretty much everywhere. It works for me, though, so far. I knew I wanted to teach at the middle school or high school level, but I could never decide. I consider myself blessed to now have experience teaching 7-12 art.

How long have you been teaching art?: I started in January this year, but I was only part-time working at Southwest and the ALC here in Albert Lea. I graduated from Bethany Lutheran College (Mankato) in December of 2015 and just dove headfirst into my career as an art teacher at the beginning of the second semester.

What do you like about it?: What I enjoy the most is building relationships with my students. I am almost never at my desk. I love sharing stories about my victories and struggles as an artist and love hearing about students’ lives outside of the classroom, places they have gone, experiences they’ve had, etc. I strive to make my classroom not just a place to create art, but a place where students can feel accepted and learn life skills (problem-solving, cooperation, creative thinking, communication, etc.)

Cammie Tennis has taught art for 33 years and teaches at Lakeview Elementary School. - Provided

Cammie Tennis has taught art for 33 years and teaches at Lakeview Elementary School. – Provided

Cammie Tennis

Age: 55

Where do you teach?: Lakeview Elementary

How long have you benn teaching art?: 33 years

What do you like about it?: As an elementary specialist, I see students from kindergarten through fifth grade. I love to see the their personality and skill grow and develop each year.

Andrea Harves has taught art for 14 years and teaches at Hawthorne Elementary School. - Provided

Andrea Harves has taught art for 14 years and teaches at Hawthorne Elementary School. – Provided

Andrea Harves

Age: 38

Where do you teach?: Hawthorne Elementary

How long have you been teaching art?: 14 years

What do you like about it?:  I am so lucky to be able to teach art and get to know all the students at Hawthorne Elementary. I get to teach students how to draw, make colors, cut and glue, paint, make clay into really cool things and use lots of glitter. Most importantly, I teach kids how to use their imagination to create art. I come to work every day loving what I do. I have the best job around!

Mark Blong has taught art for 19 years between the Dassel-Cakota and Albert Lea districts. - Provided

Mark Blong has taught art for 19 years between the Dassel-Cakota and Albert Lea districts. – Provided

Mark Blong

Age: 54

Where do you teach?: I teach at Sibley Elementary School. I teach art in grades K-5.

How long have you been teaching art?: I have been teaching for 19 years between Dassel-Cokato and Albert Lea.

What do you like about it?: I like the kids and seeing the creative process. I really enjoy being back in the town I grew up in.