Meet Lindsay Leach-Sparks!


Courses Taught at NCVPS:

I teach AP Art History, Visual Arts Beginning, and FLEX Visual Arts Beginning.

Additional Jobs:

I run a small business with my mom called Coco Rae’s Antiques and Collectibles. We have a booth in an antique store up in Oakland, Maryland, where I grew up and an Etsy shop online.

Teaching Experience:

I have been teaching for 15 years total with 3 of those online.

Experience as an Online Student:

I got my entire master’s in history online and loved every minute of it! I had some of the best professors. They were so intelligent, innovative and fun! It was such a wonderful experience and part of the reason I choose to get into online teaching.

Advice to Online Students:

Work hard and come up with a weekly schedule that you can stick to! Everyone is so busy, and if you do not intentionally carve out the time to work on your online class, it just does not happen. Go to live class. Students who do, consistently perform better than those who do not. Never be afraid to reach out to your instructor. You might be surprised how much easier they can make your life!

The Internet:

I am passionate about art history and art in general. So most of my favorite sites involve me geeking out over the newest discoveries in that field. Right now I am really into the virtual tours at museums around the world. I love “visiting” the Louvre time and time again. There is a virtual reality tour by that is ridiculously cool! I think I have the Egyptian rooms memorized by heart!

The British Museum is awesome and I love their interactive timeline in the Museum of the World. It connects my two favorite things history and art. It is amazing and fun!

I also love to watch Youtube videos on hyper realistic sketching. I am fascinated with that!

Gadgets and Things:

My iPhone goes everywhere with me! I take my laptop most places as well. In this line of work, I spend hours on it every day. We have an iPad and a Samsung tablet in the house, and I love to read on my Kindle. I love my devices, they make my life easier and enable me to work from literally anywhere in the world. I have taken my laptop and phone to Europe, Alaska, and all over the US. I often work on my laptop in my vehicle while the hubby is driving. I get a few strange looks but that’s alright.

Oh, and one of my absolute favorite gadgets in my Roomba iRobot! I call him Gallagher which means helper. I love him!

Goals this Year:

My biggest goal this summer was to really get to know my students on a deeper level and help them set learning goals for their Visual Arts Beginning class. I am reading George Couros’ book The Innovative Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent and Lead a Culture of Creativity. It inspired me to ask my students more meaningful questions and make my courses more tailored to their individual needs. Every time I teach I course, I want it to be a little bit better than the last one. The payoff is when my students are able to see growth and improvement in their work. The pride and confidence they have when that happens are incredible!

Favorite Books:

It would be impossible for me to list just one but here are the top four:
The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

I would have to say that I still prefer the comfort of a printed book. It may be a little old school I guess but it just feels more like an old friend that way. I still use the Kindle and love it but if I had to choose, I would take the real thing every time.

Favorite Music:

I love music, it is my therapy! I love the songs Good News Baby by Ocean Park Standoff, Give Love by Andy Grammer and Believer by Imagine Dragons. I was a huge Hall and Oates fan growing up and as a teenager in the 80s, I still have a thing for big hair bands.

Favorite Shows:

I love NCIS (the original and New Orleans) and Life in Pieces on TV. The Dead Poet’s Society, Tombstone, and Guardians of the Galaxy are my all-time favorite movies.

Interesting Note:

I love to travel! I have been to Europe three times and am itching to go back. I cannot wait to return to Italy, it felt like home! This year I went on an Alaskan Cruise with my best friend and just a couple of weeks ago we took the family to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, to ride the roller coasters and had a great time!

I have a wonderful husband who I have been married to for 25 years, two fantastic kids, three fur babies, and two chickens. It is a full and wonderful life, just like the movie, and I am thankful every day for it!

The Future of Learning:

I think that online learning is just getting started and will continue to expand and grow over time. It allows students the option of taking courses that they might never have had the opportunity to explore in their face to face environments. Our lives are busy and our world is evolving. Education needs to keep up with the changes all around them. Online learning does that by offering students greater flexibility and control over their own education. It is a fascinating age and I cannot wait to see what comes next.

Advice to Online Teachers:

Realize that with online teaching there will be a learning curve and that is a good thing! No real growth happens without a little pain or discomfort. This job will stretch you and challenge you to be a better teacher. Worry about the connections to your stakeholders but most importantly the students. It is easier in our environment for the students to avoid you. You have to be creative, patient and persistent in getting them to talk to you and open up. If you can develop those critical relationships the rest of it will take care of itself.