Many think their teachers will have no back-story, that they had a clear idea and a simple path to their current point. They see that life is similar to students—work and home.
Autumn Sabin, one of the numerous talented art teachers employed in the Lakewood School district. Since 2006 Sabin has dedicated her career to helping students and teaching the arts within our town. Imani charter school was her first job in the arts. She quit due to lack of funding. She then subbed in Maple Heights. The Kermiou House, a Fine Arts program was her next employment. She ran the children’s program with summer camps and day care. Her last job before entering the Lakewood School District was at Hope Academy, where she worked with K-8th students.
Before she was the Fibers teacher, the Art History teacher, the teacher that keeps backstage of the drama shows afloat—she was a young girl with a fascination with art. “I had this art teacher. She was young and she created this environment of listen to music. …It was that environment.” She then adds, “I was just like, “I think I want this.””
That teacher became Sabin’s first exposure to her future career. In her final years of middle school the teacher took her art class to the University of Akron to view the art department. From there, Sabin claims she knew that was where she was going and that Fine Arts education was to be her career.
After taking a year to work, as her family could not afford to pay for her tuition. After the year she enrolled in the University of Akron and spent her first two years. She studied metalworking as her three-dimensional focus.
She transferred to CSU after finding out she was pregnant at age twenty. She finished her education, knowing she had to then or she never would. “He kept me on my path in a way.”
When she entered Lakewood, she worked part-time for a while, working at Emerson, at time a middle school. Budget cuts lowered the program. Then she spent four years moving every quarter through the elementary schools.
Four years ago she was hired at Lakewood High School. Her focus became on promoting an environment for all walks, be it the outgoing or the loner.
She wishes for an opportunity to expand her teaching career—to venture different opportunities as a teacher and an artist. She still works programs at MOCA and the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Naturally, to look to one’s teacher for answers is just high school. One goes to the teachers they trust for more than academic advice. In that, Autumn Sabin as asked how she feels about the pressure for high schoolers to make lasting career choices: “It’s an absolutely ridiculous expectation for fifteen and sixteen-year-olds to pick on what they want to be. I think that if you haven’t found a mentor or model that looks like the way you would want your life to look—how could you even know what that is? I had an opportunity in middle school to see what I had to do to get there.”
She then added, “Don’t make any permanent decisions until you’re twenty five.”