Graphic Design Instructor Shirley Guiteau Encourages Students to Express Emotions
As North Atlanta High School transitioned into online teaching due to the current coronavirus-related precautions, Graphic Design Instructor and FIDM Fashion Club Advisor Shirley Guiteau looked for ways to bring extra joy to her students. In these difficult days of social distancing, she is encouraging her students to express themselves through creativity.
Wanting to provide an online community where other students and faculty are able to interact and provide feedback, Shirley implemented the idea of assigning her third level students the project of creating posts on their personal school blogs. Her students were encouraged to express their emotions about COVID-19 by using Custom Ink Design Lab to design three t-shirts that visually conveyed how they felt. The students posted their designs on their blog and wrote about how they plan to persevere through the COVID-19 situation.
Although the assignment focuses on her students’ emotions, it also required each student to show an understanding of implementing design elements, including typography. Shirley felt that by allowing students to create blog posts, it would help them to better connect with their peers and receive encouragement.
She wants to allow her students the freedom to express their creativity, while learning and safely sheltering at home. She believes that although online learning is not new, we can dive deeper and pull from more resources to enhance the online learning experience.
After being commissioned by her principal to create picture collages, as the North Atlanta High School Webmaster, Shirley designed banners on the school website with themes such as the “NAHS Hat Squad” and “NAHS Spirit Wear,” where students and faculty can strut their style and school pride. Through her many educator roles, she continues to spread joy during these challenging times.
Shirley has been an instructor at North Atlanta High School in Atlanta, Georgia, for four years and currently teaches Graphic Design Production and Advanced Graphic Design. In her classes, she has her students hone their creativity by designing textiles and showcasing their work on fabric, self-branding posters, t-shirts, blogs, and more. Spending typically two to six weeks on their projects, her students also learn the fundamentals of designing textile items and learn how to use production equipment in an effort to help them build strong design, communication, and production skills.
When preparing for their annual fashion show at North Atlanta High School, her students who elect to work on collections, work on their pieces for a minimum of six weeks. As an official FIDM Fashion Club Advisor, Shirley early in the academic year invited FIDM College Representative Stephen McDowell to share information about fashion careers with her Fashion Club.