About Me


My son, Liam was born on Dec 3rd, 2012.


Liam at 1 year old.



After teaching for 15 years, and living for forty+ I can honestly say that I know very little… but I am open to more new learning each day. I enjoy teaching here at Channel Islands High.

Now that I have a child of my own I find myself more committed than ever to creating excellent experiences for the students who come through my classes.

I started drawing very young, and still love to just sit and doodle, or watch a face come to life on the page. Got my BFA from the University of Iowa, and my teaching certification not too long after.

I have taught at four different high schools, and many different kinds of art from photo to drawing to digital art- looking forward to staying put for a while.

Fell in love with martial arts in college, began teaching and coaching both, my life has been about service (it runs in the family- lots of teachers, lawyers, firemen).

Interested in finding out more about good art books? Interested in training in martial arts? Come and see me after class…

Who am I?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s tough to put the totality of who you are into words. Who you are changes from minute to minute, day to day.

Philosophy of Teaching

“What is hear, I forget”

“What I see, I remember”

What I do, I understand

This quote sums up my philosophy in the classroom or in the gym. I work hard to create experiences for my students, and in the act of being in these experiences they become transformed, and gain a deeper understanding.

We do not work at memorizing, or collecting information. We practice by making art that asks us to ask ourselves questions, instead of the usual intellectual laziness of demanding someone else’s answers.

I will lecture very little, demonstrate some, ask some questions (while expecting more in return), and then step away to act as the guide on the side while you choose the use of your class time. Art is the place where I ask for things to come from inside you, instead of focusing on putting knowledge into you from the outside.

Having been a teacher/mentor for over a decade, I believe in a simple system of RESULTS. Here is how it works:

  • everything you say (or don’t say)
  • everything you do (or don’t do)
  • everything you think, your opinions (or ones you refuse to entertain the thought of) will…

… do only two (2) things for you in my class (or in life) –  they either will get you the results you want, or they won’t. If your thoughts, beliefs, actions, opinions, (whatever) if they are currently getting you the results you want- keep ’em – as they work for you. If, however they are not getting you anywhere, you should ask yourself: why am I holding on to this excess baggage that gets me nowhere?

Here are the behaviors I associate with success in this class:

  • Early to class is on time! – show yourself you care/be prepared!
  • Materials brought to school / Ready to begin work
  • Eye contact with speaker during instruction
  • Asking good questions!
  • Participate in what your class is doing
  • Engaged in the work (focused, intent on producing your best results)
  • Mature behavior (if you cannot manage yourself- I will manage you)
  • Turns in work on time
  • Respect the materials and the room
  • Always participates in the discussions to get the most out of class

If you joined the cross-country team, the results you should be focusing on would be simple: you want to win the race by getting the best time. If you had a training regimen or a diet or some negative thoughts that were not winning the races for you, you would simply create a new regimen.

In Art class there are several results to think about:

  • passing the class
  • earning your graduation credit
  • earning your A-G requirement
  • learning to draw
  • learning how to manage deadlines
  • practicing divergent thinking (creativity)
  • learning to solve problems by focusing on solutions
  • learning how to really communicate with others
  • learning color theory
  • preparing for college/life/career
  • becoming the best artist you can be

Very simply, try to apply the idea that if your goal in this class is excellence you will practice being excellent! If you say that the class is unimportant to you (and you come up w/ a reason for that)- guess what? You make the class unimportant and you won’t do very well. Your opinion and thoughts drove your results. Conversely, if you say the class is worthwhile to you, you will get good results.

Here is the story of the Four Minute Mile:

The story of Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile barrier in 1954 is often cited as proof of the power of positive thinking.

The first element is supported by citing doctors and other authorities who claim that the four-minute mile was impossible if not lethal. The reference to “impossibility”, danger, or death underline the “negative” aspects of the belief.

The second element–that belief, as opposed to physical ability–is the primary obstacle to achievement, is supported by the fact that many runners broke the barrier so quickly after he did. They must have been physically able, for how could they train so quickly to such a high level of performance? The story implies that belief alone explains why runners followed suit so quickly.”

-from BeyondGrowth.net

So, if belief or opinion makes for our perception of ‘reality’, than reality is whatever we think it is. Before 1954, no one believed that a person could run a four-minute mile, so no one did. Once Bannister thought he could do it, it became real for him and he accomplished that result. Once others saw that it could be done, about 13 more people accomplished the exact same result in the next year. This is part of what Bruce Lee meant by his quote : “Your truth is not my truth”, as well as our style’s credo of: “Having no limitation as limitation”.

Contact me at benjamin.clancy@ouhsd.k12.ca.us

Class rules

4 Responses to About Me

  1. john55912 says:

    Well done sir.
    I’ve been at this for 20+ years and think sometimes I’m getting it right. I like your approach and wish you a good year.

  2. Carol Klett says:

    I have been teaching Art most of my long life (I’ll be 73 in November), and I plan to retire next June,and I just stumbled across your website looking for stuff for my students. All I have to say is THANK YOU!! What an awesome program you’ve put together! As you might guess I’m not all that tech savy, (I tell my kids that I was born BTV–Before Television) so I love it when I can find some video demos to show my kids. I also see some very familiar lessons that I’ve used myself with great success.
    I wish you great joy in your teaching career. “Keep on keepin’ on!”
    PS: Where are you located? I couldn’t find that anywhere.

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