Career Day at Rivercrest Elementary with Florence Brem

The Dixon really values community outreach, and this past Friday, January 30, I had the opportunity to go to Career Day at Rivercrest Elementary School.  I was there to tell the fourth, fifth, and sixth grade classes about working in the arts. They had a lot of really good questions about what it’s like to work in a museum as the Children’s Program Coordinator. 

There were a lot of things to think about as I was preparing for Career Day. What was I going to tell them? What cool things could I show them? How could I make the experience memorable? And most important – what could I teach them? 

I had a few prompts, provided by Rivercrest Elementary, to get me thinking: 

  •  Discuss the education/training required for your career. 
  •  Discuss a typical day in your career. 
  • Describe the character traits required in your career. 
  • Discuss the specific skills needed to be successful in this career. 
  • Describe how your interests relate to your career. 
  • Display props, uniforms, tools, or other items related to your career.      

So that’s where I started. My education; I told them all about taking art classes in high school. They were amazed about my tales of pottery, photography, painting, and drawing. I told them about my choice to go to an art school for college, instead of a normal university, and they were all really interested. I told them what I do; I implement children’s art programs at the museum. I showed them some of the projects that I’ve made with children and the planning that went into the projects. 

Then, I asked if they liked Math. A few of them raised their hands. Some of them were genuinely excited, and some of them were a little unsure. Everyone was surprised to find out about all the ways I  use math in my job. I have to propose a budget each year to be able to buy the materials I use. I even walked them through the formula I use for figuring out my budget, and they felt confident that they could figure out a budget.  I asked how many of them liked English, and I got even fewer hands than when I asked about math. A few children said reading was alright, but writing was far from their favorite, or vice versa. They were really surprised to learn that I have to do a lot of writing in my job. When I plan out all of my programs, I have to write them down so that people know what’s going on at the Dixon. 

Then I got to the fun stuff. I asked who liked Science – everyone was excited! Science and art go hand in hand in many ways. For instance, if we make kites, I have a great chance to teach children about the science behind wind. They were really excited to discover that the things they are learning in school right now can all apply to a job in the arts. And they were surprised to hear me say that sometimes, the lessons I teach are even a learning opportunity for me. No one is an expert on everything, and a willingness to learn can take you a long way. 

They all walked away from my booth with a free Dixon pass, a Renoir poster, and information on our education programs, but most importantly, feeling a little more confident about what they’re learning.

Posted by Chantal Drake at 3:41 PM
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