Capturing hearts, minds of students by sculpting relationships

A photograph. A moment frozen in time. A memory captured and preserved in tiny megapixels. Photography is just a a hobby for some, but for art teacher John Burrows photography is a passion.

Burrows has been interested in photography since he was a sophomore in high school and is now passing on his knowledge to his own students. Burrows not only teaches kids the ins-and-outs of photography, but also hopes to be a light for his students.

“I want to push kids to do better. That’s my goal,” Burrows said. “Just seeing their improvement in their work ethic makes me feel accomplished; it makes me feel like they’re doing what they set out to do.”

Burrows strives to impact his students with not only knowledge of the arts, but also by being a supportive mentor.

“The most important part of teaching to me is relating to the kids,” Burrows said, “being more than just their teacher, being more than just the guy who stands up in front of the room, and getting involved with them and understanding where they are coming from everyday.“

Students like senior Molly Wise believe that Burrows gives the students the freedom they need in an art class.

“He gives us a lot of freedom to figure out what we like in art,” Wise said. “It’s really cool because I got to develop my own style. He lets you run with your own work, but teaches you how to get better in a way that doesn’t change your personal style.”

Wise can easily relate to Burrow’s style of teaching.

“I like how he teaches a lot because he just kind of lets you go, which is nice because then you don’t have someone hovering over your artwork,” Wise said. “Mr. Burrows definitely lets you work until you need help, then he’ll instruct you. I learned if you work really hard in a class, the teachers will respect your personal work habits. Mr. Borrows was really cool about that.”

Not only do the students recognize Burrows as an excellent teacher, but other teachers do as well.

“He’s generous and is very pro-student,” Richards says. “As a teacher, he is demanding but fair. If students don’t get it the first time, he re-teaches. He is persistent and never gives up on a student, so if they are having a funky day, he comes back the next day and encourages them to try harder.”

Burrows isn’t just a great teacher and mentor to his students, but is also an inspiration. Burrows overcame a problem he had when he was young, he was partially deaf.

“I had to read lips and I had to watch what people said so it effected my reading and it affected my speech,” Burrows said. “I went to speech therapy and they did the best they could. But I still have a little bit of a speech problem. I got my ears fixed with tubes, and I’ve been able to hear pretty well since then.”

Even though it affected his early years of schooling and learning, Burrows looks at his experiences as another way to relate to his students.

“It’s actually interesting because I can relate to kids that have other things that they are maybe made fun of,” Burrows said. “My speech impediment is caused by the fact that I couldn’t hear, especially when I was young, but it doesn’t bother me at all. It’s who I am.”

Burrows looked to photography as a way of expressing who he is and to show the beauty of this art.

“Photography gives me my creative outlet. It just lets me capture images and things that I may not be able to express alone and lets me show that to everybody,” Burrows said. “Photography is typically real life images. Paintings are awesome; drawings are awesome, but photography lets a person into that moment. It freezes a moment in time. It really allows you to be a part of it and see it.”