Senior art major Rosa Friedrichs wants her elementary classroom, however it might be constructed, to be filled with creativity, so that she utilizes her strengths and interests.
And her list of interests and strengths is lengthy and varied and includes Spanish, dance, sign language, farming, outdoor skills and a lot of art.
“If teachers are so inclined they can make almost any elementary lesson into an art assignment,” says Friedrichs, who has a ceramics focus and an outdoor education minor. “I want to get my class outside more. There is an outdoor education activity for every assignment or problem you might have in your classroom.”
A Natural Teacher
Friedrichs felt the call to teaching early and friends and family say it is fitting. Even as a young child she used the outdoors as a classroom setting.
“I remember teaching my friends things like cursive and rhyming words in the woods,” she says. “People have said that teaching is perfect for me. I have a lot of patience, and I understand kids who need to move around a lot. I am good at listening. I have a lot of curiosity, and I love when people pursue their own interests. I get excited about it. I like to have fun, and learning should be fun.”
Friedrich’s mother is an artist, and her father is a stonemason.
“Handcraft is really valued in our family, and I really like doing things with my hands,” she says. “I like to stay busy with things that make me happy. All of my interests energize me to do the things that I want to do.”
Through the Bonner Scholars program at Earlham, Friedrichs already has accumulated teaching experience.
“I have volunteered at the Head Start preschool, and I teach art at the Richmond Friends School,” she says. Throughout these experiences and her own elementary education, Friedrichs says she has realized the importance of exposing young kids to different ways to experience learning.
“Bringing creativity into the classroom breaks up the monotony of the day,” she says. “I am hopeful that it will make kids interested in subjects that they wouldn’t be interested in otherwise because they can use their creative energies.”
Friedrichs says her entire Earlham experience, both inside and outside the classroom, has helped shape the teacher she will become.
Shifting World View
“Before I came to Earlham I thought I had a pretty solid view of the world,” she says. “Now my ideas are less likely to be built on preconceived notions. Earlham has helped me break down barriers. Instead of thinking that I know certain things about kids because of how they act or because of what their families do, I am a lot more open to being surprised. I will be open to the experience, and that will cause me to break down preconceived notions of how the world is. Earlham does a really good job of that and hopefully that is something I can continue.”
Friedrichs plans to pursue a master’s degree in education but not before she makes sure she wants to teach at the elementary level.
“I still want to work with older children just to make sure that I want to work with the younger kids,” she says. “I feel as though I can add more creative aspects in the younger classroom because there is a simpler curriculum, but I want to be sure.”