REAL PROS: Sabrina Rivas McCollum, Middle School Teacher

By Lydia McAllister on Friday, September 25, 2020

Sabrina Rivas McCollum

Job: Middle School Art Teacher
Employer: Siloam Springs Intermediate School
Alma mater: University of Arkansas
Degree: Bachelor’s degree of Fine Arts

How did you decide to go into education?
“I was in physical therapy school at the University of Central Arkansas when I learned about art therapy and teaching art. I just had my second knee surgery and a third surgery planned for the spring, so I was inside painting and drawing a lot. That got me looking into the art field, then I moved to Fayetteville to pursue an art degree.”

Describe your role and responsibilities.
“[I work to] inspire fifth- and sixth-graders to be creative and use their imagination, while teaching them skills and art techniques they can use in the art room as well as at home. This allows students to explore and learn about art from around the world and from all types of cultures, as well as how art can be found all around them.”

What’s a typical day-in-the-life like?
“Crazy! My classroom is a constant wheel of students making art, making messes, cleaning and discovering new ways to change, fix or talk about their artwork.”

What was your training like?
“[My] art education courses were hands-on and very diverse with many levels of students and art mediums.”

Why do you love your job?
“Everyone is always focused on core classes, but in my classroom I get to focus on the students' imagination and the fun artworks that we can create. They get to make mistakes and learn from them turning them into masterpieces or learning what not to do. They get to break rules and show me how their brains have a different outlook on life.”


Why It's Hot
Middle school teachers educate students, typically in sixth through eighth grades. Employment of middle school teachers is projected to grow 3% from 2018 to 2028. With rising student enrollment across the country, job demand should increase for middle school teachers.

The Degree You'll Need
Middle school teachers typically must have at least a bachelor’s degree. In addition, public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license. To become an art teacher, a specific emphasis area in the arts is either encouraged or required for many positions.

The Paycheck
The average annual wage for middle school teachers in Arkansas is $49,660.

"What’s truly fun is seeing students learn something in front of you or students teaching other students something you taught them five minutes ago.” –Sabrina