New Room, Same Teacher

Lauryn Lieske

Alexandria DePagter is going on her second year of teaching art at New Berlin West. She’s teaching the same classes she taught last year including drawing, art design, photography, and sculpture.

In reflecting on her first year of teaching art at West, DePagter said, “I would say that it went really, really well. The kids here are really welcoming and I love the classes that I teach.”

DePagter’s best memory of her first year is based on the effort her students put in to their artwork.

“Seeing how creative [the students] are and what they can come up with was my favorite part.”

DePagter’s worst memory of her first year at West was how much work it was to get a new job.

“I taught seven different subjects, so I had to prepare all of the lessons, rubrics, and PowerPoints. It’s a lot of work, but this year’s better.”

In contrast from last year, DePagter modified mostly the photography and digital art curriculums in terms of changes on how they were before she came to West.

“So, in photography, there were specific things we looked at, like machinery as a whole, but now we cover big topics first like people, places, and we also do objects of things.”

At DePagter’s prior teaching job, Stratford High School, she was the only art teacher in her school. At West, DePagter now has had the opportunity to collaborate with the other art teachers.

“I love working with a group. I’ve definitely learned a lot from the ways that they teach and some of their ideas. I’ve been able to take some of those things and put them into my classroom, which is awesome.”

“We are very, very different individuals and how we teach is very different, but I do see a lot of the good things that they’re doing that I want to add into my stuff.”

DePagter lives in downtown Milwaukee. As of last school year, she’s still fairly new to the New Berlin area.

“I still sometimes use my GPS to get to Ike, but I have had the chance to explore downtown quite a bit which has been great to see all of the artwork and some of the street art.”

“Teachers get free admission to the Milwaukee Art Museum, so I’ve been there quite a few times but not New Berlin as much.”

As opposed to last year, DePagter’s classroom was in room 119, but this year, she moved to room 121, which is a significantly more spacious art classroom, due to purchasing new equipment for the digital art department.

“I needed the bigger space because we [the art department] were able to get professional photography backdrops that and we’re getting quite a bit of new lighting,” DePagter said. “The larger space allows us to have more room for those things.”

In speaking on attending school again and receiving her master’s degree, DePagter said, “I would love to go back someday. Currently, I don’t have time; I’m too busy. Even if I do go back for my master’s degree, I would like to keep teaching high school.”

DePagter enjoys and wants to keep teaching high school because her students are willing to experiment with their innovative and imaginative minds.

“I like that level because they are able to produce professional looking things whereas, with middle or elementary schools, I don’t think I would be as satisfied with the final results.”

DePagter’s students help her discover new ways of teaching art when they use different kinds of material.

“Students continually remind me that they are capable of so much more than what we think they are capable of. I’m constantly surprised at how talented, creative, and unique all the students are.”

“Everyone has their own style, so it’s great to see that diversity in the classroom. I just keep being reminded that the sky’s the limit.”