Alumni Spotlight: Yuna Suk (BFA ‘22)

Painted pumpkin project made by the students

The Department of Art Education recently caught up with alum Yuna Suk about her new career as an art teacher with Fairfax County Public Schools. Yuna graduated from VCU in the spring of 2022 with a BFA in Art Education and a minor in Art History.

Hi Yuna! Where do you work, and what is your title?

I work at Woodley Hills Elementary school as a full time art teacher in Fairfax County Public Schools! I teach Kindergarten through 6th grade as well as special education/adapted art students. 

Describe your current job and what a day-to-day may entail.

My job is to teach art to all students at Woodley Hills which is K-6. I usually arrive at school around 8:15 AM to prepare for my classes of the day such as powerpoints, materials, etc. On average, I have 5 classes a day with a planning period where I can grade artwork, create lesson plans, etc. I teach 3-4 classes (one hour each class) back-to-back before my lunch break, and 1-2 classes afterwards before dismissal! Morning before class starts is my favorite time as I get to greet students and students also like to have a chit chat time in my art class before they start their day. I start my lesson by having a hook to grab students’ attention, and reviewing objectives. I then teach my lesson and we go into art-making time which is my favorite! At the end of the class, we clean up collaboratively, and review our goals and objectives again with a formative assessment, such as exit tickets, verbal reviews, etc. 

How did your experience as an Art Education student prepare you for this career path?

The VCU Art Education department helped me as they gave multiple hands-on experiences. I loved how the Art Ed department gradually built your experiences and during your first year in Art Ed, you get to experience one-on-one mentoring at Carver Elementary School as well as group teaching at Binford Middle School. During 2nd year in Art Ed, I was able to observe and teach for my elementary practicum which was usually twice a week. We learned and practiced how to create lesson plans, problem solve, and adjust lesson plans for improvement. 3rd year/last year is when I got to experience secondary practicum (both middle and high school) as well as student teaching, which is a full semester of full time teaching at both elementary and middle/high school. Art Ed students are also required to take ARTE450 which is “Art for the Exceptional Learner” where we learn about how we can strategize and promote meaningful inclusion of students with disabilities in PK-12 art classrooms. All of these hands-on experiences and courses have prepared me to become an art teacher. 

What sparked your interest in this job and how did you become connected with the organization/business?

I have always wanted to pursue a job in art since I was a child. Art has always been a huge part of my life and it has helped me be more expressive and creative without being afraid. I wanted my students to have the same experience as me where students are not afraid to make mistakes, explore different mediums/meaningful art making processes, and simply have fun! My goal was to work in FCPS because I wanted to work in Northern VA (hometown), so after graduation, I applied to schools, interviewed, and got a job! 

What project or experience has been a highlight of your job so far?

My favorite project I have worked so far with my students is block printing with 6th grade and Yayoi Kusama inspired pumpkin collage with 1st grade! Their artwork looks great and it looked beautiful when I hung them in the hallway. I also enjoy my morning when my students come to visit me! 

What should current Art Education students know if they are interested in pursuing a similar career path?

Make connections!! The VCU Art Ed program gives multiple opportunities for hands-on experience with teachers in counties around VCU such as Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield, and Hanover. Your collaborative teachers, professors, mentors, and peers will be someone you can reach out to, help you improve and become a lifelong learner. VCU Art Ed department always made me feel welcomed and I hope current Art Education students get the same experience I was able to get! 

Follow along with Ms. Suk’s classroom on Instagram at @yunaaaart!