Professional Practice

Introduction to Nic Hahn (Ep. 099)

As you may have heard, the Everyday Art Room podcast has a new host this week–Nic Hahn! You may know Nic from her Mini Matisse blog, her Instagram, or her many Art Ed Now conference presentations. Today, she welcomes you to her debut episode of Everyday Art Room! Listen as she discusses what to expect from her show, what to expect from her, and why she wants to share everything that is happening in her classroom.  Full episode transcript below.

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Nic: Okay. I have the mic, the headphones on, I’ve hit record. I’m doing it. I’m hosting my very first Everyday Art Room for The Art of Education University. This is exciting and scary. And, I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I get to geek out with you on a regular basis about all things creative and I am super passionate about teaching and creativity and honestly if I get started on this, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to stop, but here we go. This is Nic Hahn and this is Everyday Art Room.

As I mentioned, I am over the top excited to be working with The Art of Education University again. I have worked with AOE in the past. I have taught courses for them. I was an instructor for a period of time. I’ve recorded PRO packs for them, which I really love to do. And I’ve presented at their online conferences all but one time actually. I’ve been able to participate many times. I admire what they do and I’m so proud to be part of their team again. I was honored to be asked to host the Everyday Art Room and I accepted, and then it quickly set in that Everyday Art Room is hosted by Cassie Stephens. Perhaps you know her. She might be the most famous art teacher on the planet. You might’ve heard of her. Mm-hmm (affirmative). That Cassie Stephens.

That is when panic started to set in. Luckily for me, I have the honor of calling Cassie a friend. We started blogging about the same the time many, many years ago and I made contact with her right away. As social media started to grow, so did our cohort. We started having more and more teachers start to blog and start to share what was happening in their art rooms, and we kind of created this little art teacher team. Well, this group started asking questions of each and having conversations. And Cassie and I were part of the conversation. Going to national conferences gave me the opportunity to meet Cassie in person. I even was presenting at the same conference one time. I presented at the Wisconsin Art Educator Conference and Cassie was a keynote speaker.

So I got to learn a little bit more about her back story then, through social media, her using Instagram and Facebook and Twitter. I’ve been amazed with the connection with her and with other art educators. I am a huge fan of Everyday Art Room podcast. So I was excited to just even know more about Cassie via this podcast as well. And what I have found out is that Cassie and I actually have a lot in common. Our backgrounds are fairly similar. Here’s what I know about Cassie and I and what we have in common. I know that Cassie has been working about 20, 21 years. Somewhere around there. I graduated in 2001 and I got my first job in 2002. That puts me at about 17 years starting here in the fall.

We both were told early on in our college years that you can’t be a teacher and an artist. You had to choose one or the other. I’d like to think that both Cassie and I are trying really hard to bust that myth and just become who we want to be. We can be a really good art teacher and a really good artist as well. So I think we’re both working on that kind of changing the mindset of what being an art teacher looks like. We loved sharing our experiences both in the classroom and in our personal art life via social media. And well, just in general we have a lot that we’re alike.

So because of that, you’re going to hear some similar subjects and conversations on Everyday Art Room as we move forward. I think you’re also going to hear some new outlooks at all because well, I’m a totally different person. I will be sharing about my experiences and my research and my creative endeavors in the next couple of months and weeks. I want to share my passion for the art education world. I’ve been doing artist training card swaps for five years now. So this is a good example of something that I will talk about in an upcoming episode.

I have also done monthly challenges for both myself and my own creative world, as well as for my students. I love hands-on. I mean, that’s why I’m an art teacher, right? But I also feel that there’s a really safe place for technology in the art classroom and it really can heighten what we do as art educators. So can’t wait to share about that. I love using play for learning. I hope to bring some of that playful energy to Everyday Art Room as well. I will be talking about finding balance. This is something that I struggle with on a regular basis, but I have a good way to bring myself back to balance and I want to share that with you as well.

And I am a professional development junkie in general. I love doing Twitter chats or reading books and reading books and reading books. I go to conferences. I read books. I go to classes. Have I mentioned I read and listen to audiobooks as well? Okay, you get the picture. I love to learn. I have this desire for continuously learning about art education, about creativity, about being a mom, being a wife, being a friend. Well, you get the picture. I’m a huge fan of learning.

Here’s one thing that might change as we move forward in the Everyday Art Room. I will be inviting others to share their thoughts and their experiences and their expertise on this podcast. Over the many years that I’ve been going to conferences and staying connected on social media, just meeting others in general that are walking down the same path as you and I, I have been impressed with the art educator tribe that we belong to. I mean wow. We have such a creative bunch. I know that’s what art educators are known for, but we have people of power and influence as art educators. We have creative and thought-provoking art educators. We are positive and welcoming. Our tribe is simply amazing and this is why the Art of Education University and I align so closely.

I feel that the organization knows this fact, knows that we have such a broad view of art education. It is way too big for one person to just give their opinion. So I want to bring in other people as well to share what is happening and what we can do to celebrate what’s happening in their classroom. So, allow me to represent you the listeners and probe the minds of some of the most amazing art teachers out there. Does this mean that I will bring in artists and art educators with millions and millions of followers? Yeah, sometimes it does, but other times I’m going to bring in a guest who you may not know.

A lot of times there’s things going on in their classrooms that are just as exciting and innovating as someone who has tons of followers. So I want to make sure that this is a platform for all so that you can, let’s call it, meet some new people and hear what’s happening in their classroom and how it applies to you, and how you might be able to use it in your classroom as well.

In upcoming podcast, I’m sure I’ll be sharing a lot more about myself. Just probably organically, but I think it’s appropriate to probably introduce myself a little bit. I’m Nic Hahn. Well, that’s what most people in our creative tribe know me as. Well, actually let me take that back. Most people in our tribe think that I’m Mini Matisse. That’s the name of my blog. See, I have two kids. My son is Sawyer. He is 13 years old. And my daughter is 11 years old and her name is Matisse. When I started blogging, she was so tiny. Oh my gosh, she was a doll. So I called my blog Mini Matisse. Back in those days, the Internet was scary and you didn’t want people to really know your true identity. So I disguised my face and I had a different avatar and I also changed my name to something that was after a famous artist, except not really because it was really after my sweet baby girl.

And, I changed my name dramatically from Nicole Hahn to Nic Hahn. Okay? I hope you can catch my sarcasm. I know it’s not that big of a change, but actually there’s a lot of Nicole’s in my life and Nic fits me a little bit better. So, Nic Hahn it is. Most of the people in my life, however, call Miss Hahn. Currently, I teach at a kindergarten through 5th grade school and I teach about 750 students. I’ve been in this position for five years at Hassan Elementary. But here’s the catch. These five years have not been consistent. See, in 2017 and 2018, I applied for a new job teaching in the same district, but this school was a K8 school. It was a brand new school just being developed, and I couldn’t wait to take on the challenge of having a new staff and new kids and a new classroom and just creating this from scratch. And I loved it. I loved the people that I worked with.

But, what I found out is that I missed Hassan. When my current job opened up again, I applied in a heartbeat. They welcomed me back with open arms and this is what I consider to be my work home. I feel it just fits me perfectly and I love the people that I work with as well. Prior to working at Hassan, I worked at Rogers Middle School where I taught 7th and 8th graders. And before that, I worked in a K5 situation, sometimes working in an art room. Although the art room didn’t have any windows or working sinks most of the time, but it was better than when the years that I worked on a cart in the classroom, the homeroom classrooms. I also taught in a music classroom. I taught in the cafeteria. And my personal favorite was the year that I taught in the teacher’s lounge, especially on treat day.

You try getting kids to pay attention to you when there’s Oreo cookies and trail mix sitting on the back table behind them. All of these experiences that I just mentioned have taken place in a suburban school district in Minnesota. My husband is a tech-ed teacher also in the same district and both of my kids go to a middle school in the same district, but our district’s fairly big, so there’s a lot of schools and we’re not all at the same school.

Yep. Pretty much we’re invested in this one suburban district. We are living and breathing it every day. Prior to working in suburbia, I worked in a school downtown Minneapolis. This was a very urban school right on Hennepin and 10th if you know Minneapolis at all. This experience taught me things that I didn’t even know I didn’t know. Because of that, I… Well because of my previous experiences, which was working at a rural school, very, very small town in the middle of Wisconsin and I was teaching at a high school. At that time, this was my first job out of college, so I was literally five years older than the kids I was teaching.

Again, super valuable experience because I… Well I learned a lot in that experience as well. Prior to that or even during that time, I worked as a preschool teacher. And then I’ve also been a adjunct teacher for early childhood educators. So, you can hear my experiences kindergarten… No, preschool. We’re going to go with preschool. Preschool all the way up to adult learners. And in a rural, a suburban, and a urban setting for sure gives me kind of a broad view. And then I like to think that I fill in the gaps that I’m missing by just staying connected with other people online.

So I have a lot of experiences and to help me learn and grow. Well actually I started with my bachelor’s degree, which was from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. My master’s degree was obtained. It was just a master’s of education from the University of Saint Mary’s in St Paul. And then I got to take all the fun credits. So my plus 60, I’m at the top right now. I’ve taken all the classes that I can for my district at least and most of those classes were taken through The Art of Education. I found these classes to be invaluable because they were for art teachers.

Now, if you haven’t taken a lot of courses or if you haven’t taken your master’s, this might not mean anything to you yet. I’m telling you, when you are learning with a large group of educators, you get put into the group with Fi-Ed and oh special ed and whoever is the odd balls, that’s where you get placed. In The Art of Education classes, I was actually placed with all art teachers, right? It’s art teachers. And not only just did I learn a ton from the curriculum, but I learned a lot from the peers in the class because they were global. These people were from all over the world, so I got a bigger view of what art education looks like throughout the whole entire world.

I’m excited to add this podcast on as an experience to that long list of experiences thus far. I’m passionate about sharing and celebrating art education. So this is going to be a blast.

Please join me for the upcoming weeks and months as I host Everyday Art Room. Thank you for letting me introduce myself and share my vision for this podcast moving forward and I can’t thank Cassie Stephens enough for sharing with us so much of her knowledge and passion and of our profession. She has been amazing at hosting Everyday Art Room and I hope to continue this great tradition.

This is Nic Hahn and it was my pleasure to host my very first Everyday Art Room.

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.