Back to school: alumna returns to Kerr to student teach

Lending a helping hand: Diep works with art students after school on Tuesday, February 28. She teaches them to make dragonfly keychains.

What started off as a hobby has now become a career for one passionate Van Diep, who returned to here in order to achieve her dream of teaching art.

In January 2012, Diep began helping art teacher Lisa Canorro work with her students. Diep attended Kerr when she was in high school and felt that Kerr was the perfect school to do her student teaching.

“I’m a Kerr graduate. My experiences here were my best years,” she said. “I know Ms. Canorro and I know how things work… I just want to give back to Kerr.”

Diep helped Canorro teach Art I, Drawing II, III, and IV, level four photo and commercial art classes, and all AP classes.

“My strongest subject is drawing, though,” Diep said. “So, I tend to be teaching mostly drawing.”

Diep first became interested in art in elementary school, and has stuck with it ever since.

“I’ve always had an interest in art since I was little. I think I’ve been taking art…for over 10 years now. I took classes in elementary, junior high, and high school,” she said.

However, Diep did not know that she would one day become a teacher of what she considered a hobby. She first realized that she was interested in teaching when she taught in an after school program as a part-time job. Now, Diep is close to accomplishing her goal; she receives her degree in May after attending the University of Houston for four years. So far, Diep has found her own experience in education to be wonderful and enlightening.

“I love every minute of if,” she said. “If I could stay longer, I could do a lot more with the students. It’s really good to know that I’m making an influence in their lives and inspiring them.”

But she is not the only one who enjoyed her time here. Art students as well benefited from her help and expertise. Senior Melvin W. is quite grateful for all the help she has given him with his art.

“She has guided me throughout each of my art pieces and in my design and unity,” he said. “I feel very comfortable with her. To me, she’s like the second Ms. Canorro.”

Diep feels that she can connect with her students, for she too came from Kerr and shares a passion for art.

“I [love] being able to see all the talents students have here,” she said. “They inspire me to create art.”

Senior Sarasuadi B. also feels that Diep and her students can relate to one another.

“I like [her being here] because she can relate to us,” Sarasuadi said. “She is a Kerr graduate and she gives out a lot of advice from her own personal experiences, [and] she keeps Ms. Canorro from going crazy.”

But, all good things must come to an end. Diep’s last day student teaching, was March 2. She  is currently continuing her student teaching at Chambers Elementary School.

“I’m certified for all grade levels,” she said. “I have to do half in high school and the other half in elementary…[but] I would love to teach at a high school level…I wish I could stay.”

Sarasuadi said all the students who have worked with  Diep these last few weeks will miss her.

“We won’t have as much help when she leaves,” she said. “Students won’t be as focused when she leaves, because she’s the one teacher that keeps us in check.”

Melvin said Diep made art enjoyable.

“She makes it exciting and fun,” he said. “She will be missed.”

 Diep wants to make sure that her students never give up on their art, even when she is not here to help them.

“Let life take [you] wherever you] go, and don’t stop making art, because that’s the most of yourself that you will ever be.”