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Teacher - Artist - Dreamer - Reader

IB Diploma Programme Visual Art Teacher, Xian LiangJiaTan International School

IB Middle Years Programme Teacher, Xian LiangJiaTan International School

IB Diploma Programme Examiner

Graduate of the Diploma Programme

About Me

        Hi! My name is Ms. Shreya. I am a Visual Art Teacher currently teaching in Xian, China. Here is a little bit about me. 

        I was born in India but moved to Shanghai to join my parents when I was fifteen. This is when I felt like the world first opened up for me. I attended YCIS, an international school, where my classmates were from countries all around the world. I became enriched by my exposure to Chinese culture as well as the diversity of thought at my school and I learned to value and respect differences. I figured out how to navigate the world as a third-culture kid. I had a wonderful art teacher Daun Yorke (who later became my mentor and the principal of my current school) who was incredibly encouraging. I was fortunate to have access to several amazing art spaces, which greatly influenced my idea of what art can be and the conceptual depth that it can have.

        I later went on to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where I studied sculpture, photography, and writing and was exposed to a group of peers that never failed to challenge me. After working in India for a few years I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to teach in Xian.


Teaching Philosophy

       Since teaching at Xian LiangJiaTan for the last five years, I have grown immensely as a teacher. I have taught both IB-MYP as well as DP classes, developed a strong vertical curriculum for all secondary art classes from grade 6 to grade 12, and found my style and philosophy as an educator. Last year I was chosen as the commencement speaker by the graduating class as well as awarded the Wonder Teacher Award by the Topschools association.


     My approach to teaching begins with building strong relationships with my students. I aim to create an environment that is comfortable, fun, and open and triggers inquiry. In my classroom, I aim to nurture confident and creative individuals who are unafraid to express themselves freely. Rather than simply teaching technical skills, my goal is to help students develop their critical and divergent thinking skills, through dynamic and challenging projects that encourage them to think outside the box.

       Having studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, one of the top fine art colleges in the US, I know exactly what environment artists need to thrive in. Almost all my professors were working artists that were exhibiting their art while teaching. They treated us like equals and I aim to treat my students the same. In my classes, students are encouraged to make meaningful choices and given plenty of opportunities for individual ideation and creation. They are taught skills but then also allowed to explore mediums and ideas by themselves with guidance. I want to make sure that my students are creating work that is meaningful to them and the ideas they express are related to issues that they have a personal connection with. Critique and discussion are also essential aspects of my classes and the dialogue created is invaluable for the growth of the students.

Since teaching at XLIS, I have been a positive member of the school community. I love working collaboratively with other teachers and truly believe in the power of teamwork and sharing ideas. I actively design interdisciplinary units with my colleagues and make sure to standardize grading within my department. I work closely with our support staff to make sure to scaffold and differentiate for English language learners. I have a particular interest in language acquisition and have been specially trained in SIOP, which uses applied linguistics to improve student literacy.

I am enthusiastic about wellness and implementing mindfulness in the classroom. I am aware of the stresses that students face and try my best to implement mindful practices that can reduce anxiety, strengthen concentration, and provide the tools needed for facing future challenges. 

        I am a passionate teacher and feel lucky that I can share my love of art with young minds. Art is an important part of my life both professional as well as personal. It enriches my life an incredible amount and I wish to inculcate that passion and a life-long love of the arts in others through my teaching. 

My Writing

Art Critic

In a previous life I was an art critic. I am still very passionate about visiting exhibitions and try to take my students out on field-trips often. 

Below are links to some of my articles. 

New City


The Seen

My Personal Practice 

       My personal practice involves the creation of art, poetry, and recently, fashion. A large part of my practice involves abstraction or at least the process of abstracting. I am influenced by turn of the century female abstract artists such as Hilma Klimt and Nasreen Mohamedi. I am also very inspired by the world of contemporary abstraction. I love how abstraction is a halfway space that is created between the audience and the artist.

       Growing up in India, where religious imagery is prominent in every aspect of life, I learned early on that certain images or symbols can be said to possess special power or meaning. They have the power to summon devotion but also at certain times nostalgia or even fear. The conceptual idea of invocation is something that is of great interest to me. My drawings are my attempts at summoning. Summoning the invisible layers of the world that are very real in their own way, and making them visual. The things that are concealed or exist in in-between spaces. Emotions, forces, potentials. I often draw out symbols in my artwork that could be read as ancient writing or arcane incantations.

          I love to read and my work is often influenced by poets and writers. Rosmarie Waldrop’s Gap Gardening has been one of the biggest influences on the formation of my thoughts over the past year. Additionally, I’m an avid reader of science fiction and the imagery and philosophical questions generated by the likes of Ted Chiang always inspire me.

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