Teacher Tuesday: Kristen Kubacki


Courtesy of Kubacki

Kristen Kubacki in the darkroom photography classroom

Zack Hildebrandt, Staff Writer

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what hobbies/sports you do.

A: “Okay. Well I live in Ann Arbor with my family. And I love art of course because I’m an art teacher. But I also love music, I love to sing and I love being outside. So I do a lot of walking and biking and jogging and just like to be out in nature a lot. I also love animals. So I have some cats and fish and my daughter has a rabbit and I just love being around animals.”


Q: What do you teach and why?

A: “I teach a bunch of art classes. I teach DP visual arts, I teach art and design, I teach mixed media and of course, I teach darkroom photography. And it’s really fun to teach such a variety throughout the day. It keeps me really thinking and it keeps me busy. I became an art teacher because I had an art teacher in high school that I really loved and admired. And he inspired me by telling me that the important thing is that you choose a career that you will enjoy doing. And so that is why I picked art and teaching because I knew I would enjoy being around people and I love art.”


Q: Have you always been interested in teaching?

A: “Actually, yeah. I decided I wanted to be a teacher when I was like 14 years old, because I wanted to do something with art, but I also thought it would be a good way to have kind of a reliable, stable career and of course teaching has its ups and downs. But when you have a solid position, it’s a pretty stable career. And yeah,  I have really enjoyed it. I’ve been a teacher for a long time.”


Q: What/who inspired you to become a teacher?

A: “So as I mentioned, my high school art teacher had a big influence on me becoming a teacher. Also, when I was in high school, my sister was in college and she was studying something that she wasn’t really enjoying. And so she convinced me that if I could make a career doing something I loved that I should do that.”


Q: What do you do in your free time?

A: “I spend a lot of time with my family. We like to be outside. We like to play games together and play cards together. I like to hang out with my friends on the weekends and just sit around and chat. And as I mentioned, I like to sing, I like to ride my bike and just kind of be active outdoors.”


Q: What is one motto you will always live by?

A: “So one of my mottos is actually on my classroom wall. It’s a quote by Henri Matisse, and it says “creativity takes courage”. And I think being creative is such an important part of being human. And it can be scary to try something new and different. So it takes courage to do it, but we just need to be brave and try new things.”


Q: What is your favorite teaching moment?

A: “Oh, that’s a tricky one. Well, I have lots of little moments that are always my favorite. When a student finishes a project that they’ve been working on for a long time that they’re really proud of, and then they tell me that they’re finished and I get to look at the finished product. It’s a little thrill every time I feel I tell some of my students it feels like someone just gave me a present, because I get that same sort of joy as when someone gives me something as when a student finishes a work that they’re proud of. So it’s not one moment. It’s lots of little moments that I get throughout every day.”


Q: What surprised you about this year? 

A: “That’s a great question. I think what’s surprising is that things are starting to feel fairly normal again. We’ve had a really kind of even continuous start to the school year and it’s been a while since we’ve had that. So it just feels good to be back to what I’m more used to with teaching. And of course, anything could happen, but it’s I’m sort of surprised that things are going as smoothly as they are for now.”