Katie Daniel: Favorite thing about teaching art is seeing imaginations on display

Published 10:40 am Friday, October 22, 2021

SULPHUR — Katie Daniel, art teacher at Our Lady’s School, unexpectedly found her way into the classroom. She studied studio art at LSU before graduating and moving to New York for painting school.

“I had every intent to just learn more about art. I didn’t really think I was going to be a teacher until much later,” she said.

After living out of state for a decade, Daniel and her husband returned to the area to raise their children. “I started subbing then and realized that I really loved it.”

Initially she subbed in whatever class was in need of a substitute teacher until accepting a long-term substitute position for the art teacher at Our Lady’s School. “I took her leave, then she ended up leaving for good and that’s when I became a teacher there.”

Daniel has spent the last nine years at Our Lady’s School and it has been her experience among the staff that has most shaped and inspired her teaching style, she said. “When I started subbing, I just loved kids. There wasn’t a teacher at that point that was really inspiring me until I got to Our Lady’s and I saw how all the teachers there were with the children.”

As an art teacher, Daniel gets to experience a variety of ages and backgrounds and over time, she’s grown to appreciate different levels for different reasons. “When I first started I did not like pre-k and kindergarten at all and now I love them. I mean, I like all the classes, but I really love those,” she said.

“I also love my middle school kids and the two actually have a lot of similarities and a lot of differences,” she laughed.

Daniel’s favorite thing about teaching art is seeing children’s imaginations on display, she added. “You set their boundaries and then they can do anything within those boundaries. Once they realize that, anything goes. They get a spark in their eye, they get excited and their creativity comes out.”

Despite the natural creativity the children display, Daniel said aids and examples help to guide and direct students along the way. Unfortunately, she said, the hurricane destroyed many of her examples and her greatest wish is to replenish her selection of art examples from around the world.

“I used to have all kinds of stuff, examples to show the students and work from different cultures and backgrounds to show the students all different kinds of art,” she said.

“Because often times they think, ‘So and so is good at it and I’m not.’ But it’s not that. ‘Yours is just different,’ I tell them, and ‘It’s still good.’ So, I wish I had more examples of that to show them.”

When Katie is not teaching, she enjoys working on her own art and spending time with her family.