At the spring event celebrating graduating seniors in the UTeach Fine Arts program, a veteran teacher and alumna of the program was also honored. Liz Abrahams (B.F.A., Art Education, 1979) was the inaugural recipient of the UTeach Fine Arts Outstanding Educator Award at the event on May 3.
Abrahams has taught art in Austin Independent School District for more than four decades, most of it at Galindo Elementary. During that time, she has mentored many students in the UTeach Fine Arts program and helped shepherd many future arts educators.
“When I consider the impact that we have as teachers, I’d like you to think of the image of what it looks like when you throw a pebble into a pond, and you see the waves ripple out from the point of where the rock entered the water,” said UTeach Visual Art Associate Professor Christina Bain. “Teaching is a lot like that. We don’t always see or know how we have changed the environment and people that we come into contact with, yet our work as art educators creates undeniable ripples in our students’ lives. The ripples that Liz has created as an art educator include not only the hundreds of students that she has personally taught, but the many, many university student observers and student teachers that she has mentored in her classroom.”
In her acceptance speech, Abrahams talked about how important the connections she made with her fellow UT students in her arts education program were for her as she was starting out in the classroom. She began meeting monthly with other arts educators in Austin, building a community that shared ideas, lessons learned, lesson plans and more. Abrahams encouraged graduating UT students to seek out their own peers and to foster networks and communities in their field and in the classroom.
“As you head out to begin or continue your career, remember to find those human connections. They can never be replaced by computers and devices,” Abrahams said.