Christian Vandehaar is a guy who is known for his art and his goofiness. He was a guy who never doubted himself along the way to becoming a high school art teacher, and wouldn’t do anything different if he had to do it all over again.
Vandehaar had the privilege to take over his mentor’s position when he retired four years ago. Mr. Stewart Buck was the former art teacher for Bondurant. “He always made you smile, brought passion to class every day, always encouraged you no matter what,” he said. “He brought a level of excellence to the school. Something I work to bring to Bondurant-Farrar.”
Christian knew he wanted to become a teacher when he saw how much fun Mr. Buck had all day. “I thought to myself, I could do that for 30 plus years,” he said. It didn’t hit him until he was a senior in high school.
It wasn’t until last year that he realized that teaching is what he was called to do when he started receiving thank you letters from former students. “I received some from students I didn’t even expect.” Christian said that it was a sense of validation for the time and energy he put into those kids.
Being the art teacher, Christian gets the privilege of teaching kids from every grade. “Each class brings its own uniqueness.” From the freshmen with the excitement, energy and curiosity to the seniors that he experiences deep discussions with about their art and life. “I get to watch them just take off with their art pieces.”
Although Vandehaar had a rough first year of teaching, he teaches high school art because he gets to see the “light bulb” moment when every kid realizes they can draw.
One of the hardest parts of teaching for Christian is dealing with situations with tragedy. “Dealing with those situations and knowing more may come in my career is the hardest part.” He is surprised about how much the students lean on him as a mentor for advice.
Being with the district for a few years, Vandehaar has had quite a few memorable moments. “I think for the students it’d be setting the fire alarm off during Prom while I was DJ-ing the dance,” he said. “I didn’t realize the fog machine would set them off…Lesson learned.”
For those considering this profession, Christian leaves you with this: “It can be a rough and bumpy road, a lot of hard work and late nights. But the rewards are oh so sweet when you get there.”
What does it take to be successful? “Passion,” he said.