Photography Teacher

Discussion in 'Education' started by jeffrey_berman, May 4, 2005.

  1. Photography is currently a weekend hobby for me due to my 9 AM - 8 PM
    day job (not in the photography industry). I am looking to make
    photography my profession. My ideal is to one day teach high school
    photography. Can anyone shed some light as to what steps I need to
    be taking to achieve this goal? Should I go back to photography
    school or try to gain knowledge by working for a professional?

    Also, I've been collecting information from photography schools, such
    as Brooks and NYIP, but don't know if thats really the way to go if I
    want to teach (and they are really expensive).

    I'd appreciate any advice.
  2. If you work for a private school, the requirements for teaching totally depend on the school. Some only require professional/expert knowledge (or even just working knowledge), while others require you to be fully certified as a secondary school teacher. Public schools require state certification. This usually means that you have to go to college to get a degree in the specialty field AND enroll in a teaching program. This means that you will take classes in education, teaching methods, educational psychology, student teaching, etc.

    Photography school, by itself will not help you. A good program will definately give you the technical skills and a strong foundation in the various aspects of photography. But a good regular college program can also do that. Just be sure to get the basics of photography. I've seen a lot of photo teachers that can create good photographs, but can't explain depth of field, or, because they don't know how to use a view camera, discourage students from trying it. Many fine art college programs do not teach these fundamentals.

    If you go that way, you need to make sure that the classes you take will be accepted by the state certification board-that they will transfer to a school with the teaching component.

    One good advantage to this type of program is that you may discover that what you thought was a good idea will be proven wrong before you start teaching. I thought that I wanted to be a high school history teacher. After student teaching I realized that I didn't want to teach high school, nor did I want to teach history. I went on to get my MFA and teach college photography-much better match for me.

    Now, the bad news. You need to check with your state (or the one you think you want to teach) for requirements. The standards are similar, but can be different. There are quite a few classes to take, so be prepared for several years of school. Also, when you student teach, you will have to quit that 9-8 day job of yours.

    Now, the really bad news. Getting a job teaching photography in any school is difficult. Many high schools are hiring art teachers, not photo specialists, to teach the photo classes. Many schools are dropping their programs-darkrooms are too much of a pain to maintain and digital is too expensive for them.

    BUT, I LOVE TEACHING. If you decide this is really for you, go for it, but you need to make yourself as marketable as possible. Can you teach other classes? Can you coach a sports team? (Believe it not, that can be a biggie) Are you prepared to teach part time after all that education?

    Hope this helps some.

  3. Someone once said, "Those who can do, those who can't teach". That's cynical and misleading. To teach properly you have to be able to do but even someone who is an excellent photographer may not be able to teach. I teach in Further Education in Britain. Once upon a time one could teach in FE simply by being a practitioner of some subject but some of those teachers were dire, while some were excellent. Nowadays to teach in FE one has to have a formal qualification and a teaching certificate. Working with a professional photographer would be useful but would not necessarily contribute directly to becoming a teacher. But in the final analysis, to teach a subject you must have a genuine enthusiasm for it and a desire to enable other people to do it. I teach photography because I want other people to become photographers and thus expand photography in general.
  4. Check with your local university teacher ed department. they will give you a
    list of requirements for credentialing as well as coursework requirements. In
    California, Photography is part of the Visual Arts therefore you must get a
    degree in Studio Arts, including Art History, painting drawing etc... and yes,
    photography courses.After the B. F.A then a year in a teacher credentialing
    program. That year includes student teaching. But as I said, each state
    requirments differ, so check with your local college to find out what would be
    required in your area.
  5. yeppp, i need some advice.
    im still in highschool and this is my last year.
    i want to be a photography teacher, and have wanted to be one since i was literally 12.
    how do i actually go about doing this
    i will be going to a community college for my teaching degree, but what exactly do i go for? i want to do highschool level, teaching.
    and than i want to get my b.a in photography?

    would that be correct?

    someone, please help me thank you<3
  6. As I have gotten older, I have found that I am no longer capable of carrying my camera for the hours required at weddings, or even sports shoots. I would love to teach photography (although I have through the CA 4-H program for several years--the same program that got me started!). To teach at most CA Community Colleges, you'll need a degree in photography/art (BA) plus a masters, either a MFA or in Humanities, if your BA is Art. CA allows for the equivelent for professional, if you want to teach at the JC level, or High School Level, you will need to get a BA, and then some. You'd be more hire-able if you expanded your education to a more broad-based art platform. Good Luck!
  7. I began a high school photography program 6 years ago. I had an art, BA, background and just a desire to reinvent myself as a high school photography teacher. Six years later, with 60 hour weeks, the program is now mostly in place. You need a passion for photography, a willingness to sacrifice, a desire to work with young adults. These attributes will empower you to achieve your goal. I recently put the skeleton of my program online for others to see how one teacher structured a HS photography program. There are many roads up Mt Fuji.

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