Joe Madres Strikes Innovation in Art Classes

Since the beginning of time, the greatest thinkers in history have encountered curiosity about their new ideas. Out-of-Door Academy teacher Mr. Joe Madres, is no different.

At a recent interview, Madres took some time to explain how his teaching methods have evolved and where they are now. Most importantly, he touched on how outsiders of his class, namely other teachers and parents of students, have questioned his methods.

Madres explained that essentially he does not believe in failing in his class, as long as the creativity and expression is there in some way. He does not have unwavering rules for assignments, nor does he expect everyone to complete projects in one specific way. This open thinking has clearly been a success for the students he has taught in his short time at the school.

“I’ve had Mr. Madres for two classes. If I had an idea for something that was a little different than what we were supposed to do, he was fine with it anyways. He let me be use my imagination, and if it wasn’t exactly what he asked for, he always still appreciated and approved of it,” says Senior Riley Doyle, who had Madres for Ceramics and 3D Art.

In fact, Madres has a soft spot for students who have a rebellious side. As a child, Madres says he himself was one of those rebellious types. To be clear, Madres states that he believes not in outright rebellion of rules, but of challenging ideas that leads to innovation.

Madres explained that his beliefs on this particular topic were what might cause questions from other teachers. Typically, the art classroom is a place where confronting the accepted is even more encouraged than usual, and students are given more freedom than they might be in other classes, such as math. Mr. Madres’ support of this aspect of students may follow the students to their other classes, where challenging is not as encouraged, and may cause problems down the line. This potential could of particular concern for some, especially  middle school teachers.

In another one specific example, Mr. Madres mentioned a project in which his middle school students were told to go outside, and use instruments from toolboxes to find and create a more obscure kind of art through nature. Naturally, nature led them to get dirtier than they usually would at school, resulting in questioning reactions from parents and some other teachers regarding such an out-of-the-ordinary project. Still, Mr. Madres stood true to his opinions.

As far as students go, every one of them expresses admiration for him as a teacher.

“We’re free to express our abilities without him restricting us from being creative. I really enjoy having him as a teacher,” says senior Christine Turner.

There certainly seems to be a method to the madness. The Out-of-Door Academy is proud of the vision he brings to campus.