This is Nathan. He climbs rocks. But he is also working on his Ph.D in education. He says that most people are impressed when he says that, but then lose interest when they find out he is specifically doing into Art Education. But that doesn’t seem to bother him too much.
Nathan sees art as being crucial to the rectification of education in schools. “Art is a process, not a product,” he explained. The process of art has another name: Discovery. If one can learn the art of discovery, there is little they can not learn. “I teach my art students to first figure out themselves, what makes them unique. Next is understanding the envrionment or world they live in. And at the end of the semester, we combine that to create art based on a worldview.” Education is an art, so why not use art to teach education?
In the days we spent together, I learned that Nathan loved kids. There were a number of school groups that passed by us and he would always interact with kids in the group. Sometimes that would be whispering (with a wink) “It is still five miles to the top”, or singing a song with them. The kids loved him too.
Fear is always a factor when one is climbing. Nathan admitted that he sometimes has a little freak out when he realizes how high he is. I asked if he needed help when those happened. “Nope. That is part of the reason I climb. I want to overcome my fears.” Rather than shrinking back, Nathan was pushing the envelope. He wanted to climb the hardest routes he could or find new ways to connect routes together. Once that involved doing a traverse on a thin edge with nothing for his hands to grab. Not once did I see him overwhelmed by the heights.
It was a pleasure to climb with Nathan and I feel I learned much from the teacher of art.