Camilla Duncan is just one of many BTS Arts educators to recently enroll in the Master of Arts in Teaching – Fine Arts (MAT-FA) at the University of Utah. Because the MAT-FA is a hybrid program, all students can complete their degree while staying in the classroom. Students have 9-credit summer intensives and 3-credits during the traditional fall and spring semesters — this means most of the heavy lifting is during teacher’s traditional summer breaks and makes all learning directly applicable to the teaching community you are working in year-round.
Camilla teaches Drama in Canyons District and says she appreciated how “a large amount of the MAT program coursework is based on curriculum design and theory that I can immediately bring into my classroom. During this program, I have been able to get helpful feedback on new theatre integration lessons and units that I can use with my students.”
Later this year, Camilla’s final MAT-FA project will take place between her two elementary schools. She applies Universal Design for Learning principles to engage more students in various aspects of drama, including writing and costume design. Assessing your integration of new theory and practice alongside tenured and visiting faculty is a valuable experience for arts educators seeking growth.
Professional growth isn’t only in the classroom — when Camilla will move ahead six increments on the Canyons salary scale when she graduates in the spring.
Liz McConkie is a Visual Arts Specialist who saw similar professional benefits from the MAT-FA. She writes that she “graduated with a renewed teaching license after the end of the first summer term. and was hired as a full-time BTS educator jumping directly into the Master’s lane track ~ a significant increase in earnings! I don’t believe I would have the great job I do now without the training, philosophy, practice, and degree that I earned through the MATFA.”
Sheryl Thorell is a third educator and MAT-FA who was able to move ahead in Granite District’s pay scale, but those benefits were only a small asset compared to collaboration. Working with teachers of different art forms and grade levels assists with professional learning and growth outside of your school community.
Sheryl said that she’s “always been a visual arts teacher, but learning how I could include all the art disciplines in my everyday teaching really opened my eyes. Just like all students are not one type of learner, giving them opportunities to learn in different disciplines I think really benefits each individual. It also stretched me to learn different areas, and I found they made me a more well-rounded arts teacher.”
Liz echoed the sentiment, adding, “I had an amazing cohort with talented educators who were passionate about their art forms. Their insights and experience enhanced my understanding of how the arts not only can reinforce concepts taught in “core subjects,” but they can also support each other. The arts have some beautiful similarities that add meaning, richness, and excitement to education and help to keep students highly invested in their learning.”