A Period of Transformation
Jean Cohn is an art teacher in New York that consistently strives to make a name for herself and her students within her district. Before her career in education began, she was a stay-at-home mom and freelance graphic designer. During this period, she helped design hundreds of children’s books as a creative outlet and as a means to assist her children to learn how to read. The process of teaching her children how to read ignited her passion for teaching. “My oldest son picked up on reading pretty quickly, and I thought that I was pretty good at this whole teaching thing. When my second son came along, I had to do different techniques in order for him to learn“. Jean tapped into her teacher’s spirit. She loved that each child learns differently and she developed a passion for finding out how to approach each student to optimize their learning.
Learning Life Through Art
Jean is currently in her seventh year at her school in Yonkers, New York, where she teaches over 700 students. The majority of her students speak English as their second language, so she uses art to not only boost creativity, but also to assist them in mastering the language. “Art helps them acquire the language because it places more meaning to what they are working on. I want to give them tools that give them a better overall understanding of their own life. I’m not the prep teacher, I am giving them something that they would never get in another classroom”. When teaching kids art, she believes that it’s not about the finished product, but the entire process that you go through while creating art. Jean is giving them a valuable lesson. “Art isn’t like reading, writing, spelling, or math. It’s about the process that you go through to get there, and the beautiful thing is that is life”. Jean truly believes that art gives children a gift of feeling special because it resonates at a higher level of thinking.
Unlocking the Power of OKIOCAM
Jean discovered OKIOCAM at the height of the pandemic through one of her friends who recommended it because of its affordability and portability. At the time she was rigging her laptop to serve as a document camera, but this presented a lot of challenges, especially when she was modeling art techniques for her students to follow. Jean applied for the OKIOSHARE program and was chosen to receive a free OKIOCAM! “Oh my God! That thing saved my life. It was a complete game-changer for my classes”. The OKIOCAM dramatically improved the quality of education that Jean was able to deliver to her students. The OKIOCAM has continued to serve her well, even after students have returned to the classroom. She loves that she can space all of her kids out around the room and demo the technique without any worries that students will not be able to see. “Now, I can totally demonstrate any art technique and the kids that are in the classroom can see it as well as the kids who are at home!” Jean told her principal about OKIOCAM and they were able to give out ten more OKIOCAMs to teachers in her school! Jean believes that art significantly contributes to helping children develop the confidence they need to be successful in life, and OKIOCAM helps foster a space of limitless possibilities of growth and imagination.
Jean is an art teacher in Yonkers, New York, where she has worked since September of 2015. She received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts, and her Master’s Degree from Queens College. She designed for Macmillan Morrow Junior Books where she was involved in the creation of hundreds of children’s books. Outside of teaching, Jean loves to travel with her husband! You can check out more of her artwork here, and be sure to follow her on Instagram.