Hi, my name is Ms. Pepper. I teach art here at Rocky Mountain Middle School. This is my 5th year teaching at Rocky Mountain. I moved here from Montana where I taught for 4 years and where I grew up. I taught K-12 there and one of my years of teaching there I was a high school English teacher. I come from a very small town in northern Montana nestled in the Rocky Mountains next to the Idaho panhandle. I grew up in a logging community with trees and mountains surrounding me. I come from a family with four kids. I was the second oldest, having a sister and two brothers.
I attended college just up the road from Idaho Falls in Dillon, Montana at the University of Montana-Western. I have 4 children, one that attends RMMS this year. I am certified K-12 to teach art. The best place I have ever had the privilege to teach is actually here at Rocky Mountain. I love the environment here and the variety of students I get to work with. It feels open and friendly and supportive for staff and students alike.
I feel its a privilege to be working with you/your student this year. I have a deep passion for, and love of the subject I teach and have always had a passion for helping those around me learn and prosper and become better than they were yesterday. I am a very open and friendly person and want to make sure that my students and their parents always feel comfortable reaching out to me with any questions or concerns they may have or even with things they’d just like to share with me. I never want my class to be a source of stress or anxiety for any reason so if something comes up and a student can’t meet a dead line or is struggling with a concept or isn’t able to get a supply I need them to have, please don’t hesitate to let me know so that I can find a suitable solution. I feel we learn best and become our best in situations that push us a bit out of our comfort zone but that we also still feel, safe, welcome and secure in.
I want my students to know that they do not have to be DaVinci when they come into my class. My philosophy about learning is this: A student who walks in knowing everything already, who gets an A on every project and leaves knowing everything, has not learned as much as the student who comes in knowing little to nothing about the subject, may fail several times before they get the concept but, continues on in their efforts and persists in the trying. The student who has to struggle, and work to reach a level of knowledge the A-student already has, who can elevate their knowledge to a higher degree by the end of the course, even if it is not an A level of knowledge has in my opinion learned more than the A student. My goal is learning and progression to whatever level is possible. I want to be a help and support along the way and am never disappointed in a student if they try and still fail. I recently heard an acronym for the word fail that I fell in love with because it embraces my philosophy about learning. The word fail stands for First Attempt In Learning. I believe that with all things new to us in school or anywhere else we are rarely going to do it perfectly the first time or even the second or third sometimes, but therein lies the learning. I don’t ever want any of my students to feel like I would shame them or be disappointed in them if they struggle a bit along the way. If they will just keep trying and keep communicating with me, we will figure it out together. I don’t always get things right the first time either. J
My class is a lot of work, and students will be learning new things and techniques they may never have tried before. I want them to be stretched. I expect them to participate even if they are not perfect at it or already know it. Practice never hurts. I will be teaching skills and building foundations about art so that my students will be able to go on and draw, paint and create the things they see in their minds and feel in their hearts and be expressive. Our work in my class is to give them the correct knowledge and skills to be able to go on and do that. This means that we will focus on a lot of basic ground work. I know that kids get frustrated sometimes with doing what ”looks simple” at first but without a foundation you can’t build a stable castle in the clouds.
It’s going to be a great year here at Rocky Mountain. Thanks to parents for your support and to all my students for signing up for my class. I’m excited to learn with you all.