NW new staff full interview with Amy Traylor, art teacher
What does your position entail?
I teach the Introduction to Studio Art class. In Intro to Art, we do a variety of different types of projects. So we do anything from drawing, painting and ceramics to sculpture. We do a variety of things, because that kind of helps feed into the other art courses that we have here at NW. It’s a prerequisite class to get into the other classes. So we do a lot of different things, a variety of different types of art.
What does a day in your life look like?
I get here about 7:15, come into the classroom and get things set up for the day. I’m only here for the first three hours of the day. So my first through third hour classes are Intro to Art. For art classes, we usually start out with our 10 to 15 minutes sketch time at the beginning. Then, we get into whatever project we’re doing for the day. Sometimes we have different drawing exercises or activities that we do. We just have a lot of studio time for the class, so it’s a lot of independent time to work on projects. I’m here only those first few hours and then I transition to my other school in the afternoons. At Westridge, I teach Digital Media class. So I do more of the graphic design realm like Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. I also have taught other classes in the past. I’ve done a few other classes there. I’ve done Art Explorations, Art 2-D and Art 3-D there as well. A variety of things.
What inspired you to go into this field?
I have always been someone who has enjoyed creating, drawing and painting ever since I was little, but I think in middle school, I started to really get into art even more. I took as many art classes as I could, but I wasn’t sure if that was my path yet. When I got into high school, that’s when I really felt like I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I had some teachers that really inspired me to want to teach. So some of my art teachers were the ones who made me want to teach. I actually got to teach some of my classmates when I was in high school. I knew a jewelry technique and my teacher had me teach other students in the class because I had finished early and had extra time. So I was able to kind of use some of that. That was like my first teaching experience, so that was a lot of fun. I think those teachers really encouraged me to pursue that. I think it was my senior year of high school I took seven art classes in just that one year. So I had three one semester and four the other semester and just spent all of my time in that area.
What makes Northwest stand out from other schools.
I haven’t been here too long yet, but I’ve seen some really awesome things. I love the atmosphere in the mornings when we have the marching band going through. It’s so exciting. I don’t get that at middle school so that was a lot of fun just being here on that first day, the excitement of it. I feel like there’s a really strong school spirit here. A lot of people were participating in the spirit days and things, so I feel like it’s a very welcoming community, and I’ve enjoyed being here so far. I’m still pretty fresh to it, but everybody’s been very awesome and very welcoming.
What’s the highlight of the year so far?
I mean, I haven’t had too much happen yet, but we just finished our first big project, our graffiti style identity project. I know I had some students who felt like they were really successful in the project. I had one student that just told me this was the first piece of artwork he’s ever made that he feels really proud of. That’s so cool to hear that. I like to have students succeed this early in the semester, that makes me feel good.
What are you most looking forward to for this year?
I’m looking forward to just trying out some new lessons and new projects. I’m really excited about printmaking. I don’t typically get to do printmaking at the middle school level, so I’m really excited about doing some printmaking and just trying out some more advanced things with the high school students.
What are your goals for the year?
Goals would be just to make connections with my students. Hopefully, they have a positive experience in art and want to continue taking other art classes in the future.
How can students contact you?
So I am only here in the mornings. Usually if students contact me, if it’s not during class time, I’m in the classroom before school, they can come talk to me and see me. I’ve always answered student emails pretty frequently.
What is one thing you would say to the NW student body?
I’m glad to be here. I’m excited to see what types of awesome things that we can create in art. I’m excited to see everything that’s created, excited to see what the future holds.
Where have you worked before this?
Actually, I’ve done a lot of different things. I actually worked at a preschool for a year when I first graduated from college. I subbed for a while. When I started teaching, I started in Shawnee Mission at SM East. so I was actually there the first couple of years that I taught. Then I moved to Westridge, and I’ve been at Westridge for the past six years now. This is my first year that I am split between two schools. So I’m both here and at Westridge.
Do you have anything else to add about anything?
I’m excited to be back at the high school level because I really enjoyed when I taught high school before. I was excited about working with this age group again. I feel like you start to really get your sense of identity, what drives you as a person and what’s important to you. I feel like that really comes through in the artwork a lot more. So you can get a little more in depth with the projects. I feel like that’s really cool.