LOVELAND - David Pettner's art classes does not consist of children just coloring. He pushes his students a lot harder to grasp principles of art. They end up loving it.
"It's been a blessing every day for the six years I've been here at Resurrection Christian School," said Pettner. "I love teaching. I love being with the kids. More importantly, I love seeing kids being challenged and pushed to where they have to stretch and push past that fear and self doubt and feel 'I can do this.'"
The day of 9NEWS' visit to his art classroom, fifth graders were armed with rulers, pencils and erasers. They were figuring out how to draw a busy street corner with perspective so that it looked realistic. In the back of the classroom on a dry rack, there were paintings by kindergardeners that featured snowmen. Even the 5-year-olds used shading on their snowmen to give them dimension.
"Kids can't come up to me and say 'Can I be done?," said Pettner. "They have to say 'What can I do to make this better?' They also can't say 'I can't' because they always can with help."
That help comes in all sorts of forms. Pettner draws along with his students from his desk as an overhead camera zooms down on his hands working the pencil on paper. He records that so if a child needs help with a past lesson, it's there to be reviewed.
For the lesson on street corners, Pettner dialed into Google Maps which captured city blocks from all over the world in real-time. He then walked from desk to desk, helping the children along with their visions.
A lot of the places the kids looked at are places Pettner has been. When he was younger, he traveled the world with his watercolors. He never imagined he would settle down in Loveland as a school teacher.
"I thought I was going to be a fighter pilot, but that didn't work out because I have bad eyes," Pettner said. "Then, I thought I'd be a pediatrician because I've always loved kids. I'm a bit of a 'kid magnet.' They're the most fun people to hang out with. They really are."
Pettner has amazing faith in the Lord. He credits God with sending him in the direction of Resurrection Christian School.
"I always tell the students 'I am your friend,'" said Pettner. "Jesus called us 'friend.' They're all my brothers and sisters. They are my family. When they come into this building, they know they're important, and they're loved and wonderful."
The kids along with their parents are appreciative of his approach. The Lawton family was among those who nominated Pettner for the 9Teachers Who Care award.
"Not only does Mr. Pettner inspire and encourage the children he teaches, he truly loves them. He takes that love and he puts it into action, going above and beyond what may be a job and makes it into a calling."
"My greatest work of art right now comes through my children who are here. It comes through their works. It comes from them taking themselves to their next level. So right now, that's my greatest masterpiece."
To nominate a teacher or to learn more about the 9Teachers Who Care award program: http://on9news.tv/fMZBL3.
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