With only four weeks of real-life classroom experience, 23-year-old Christine Childers is one of Leon County’s newest art teachers. Her degree in education helped prepare her for this profession but not nearly as much as her upbringing has. She is the daughter of Julie Childers, a 28-year veteran of the art room and the graphic design and art history teacher at Chiles High School.
“I was pregnant with Christine and I taught all the way up to a couple days before she was born,” said Julie. “She was in the classroom, she listened to my voice as I was teaching about the elements and principles of art, so she just gets it.”
“It’s in my bloodstream,” adds Christine.
“Training has been going on for this job since I was born even though I had no idea. I took everything that my mom taught me and what I’ve experienced through her actions and by being her daughter and I put it towards everything that I’m doing now.”
Though Christine trained as an elementary classroom teacher, she was pulled in a different direction. “I learned a lot in my internship but it didn’t feel right. I wanted to be an art teacher. It wasn’t hard, it wasn’t forced, it was just natural because I grew up with that sense.”
Born and raised in Tallahassee, Christine attended Chiles and was one of her mother’s students. During her time in high school, she also took an art class from Walter Thorner who later moved on to teach art at Riley Elementary until he retired at the end of last year. In a bit of serendipity, it is this very art room that Christine now calls her own.
“He left me all his lessons,” said Christine. “I can use that to show me what the students should already know and what they’ve done.”
As a colleague and a mom, Julie understands how much new teachers need support and guidance. “That collaborative spirit is so important and I’m really thankful for this community of art teachers. She is never alone.” Christine agreed and added “just knowing that I’m surrounded by that is really encouraging.”
Read the rest of the story
Or visit the Tallahassee Democrat to read more here