Sunday, June 22, 2014

No Mountain High Enough...

Learning to teach is like climbing a mountain only to find there's an even higher mountain beyond it. I have a LOVE/HATE relationship with being a teaching artist. My love starts with my love of schools.

I LOVE school.

I love being in schools. I love hallways, bulletin board displays, the sounds of chairs scarping the floors, pencil taping, kids scurrying to and from the bathroom, the hush and then the clamor as kids fall out of class to the yard. The bright colors, the hodge podgeness, the order and the chaos.

I love kids. They're nuts. They're funny and surprising and amazing.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE teachers. Seriously? Who works harder for less? Teachers, they keep getting pummeled by our ignorant society. Still they show up at 7:15am to cut paper, grade tests, meet parents before they go to work, sweep the rugs  (it's not in the janitor's contract, or there is no janitor) fed the gecko, lizard, fish, tadpoles, feed the early kid, the homeless kid, do hair for the neglected girls, and wash the faces of the dirty children. And don't forget they actually teach tiny crazy people to read, write, add and subtract and more. AND they teach manners, caring, social, environmental and school yard justice. They sing, dance, drum and generally make fools of themselves so other people's  video addicted, attention limited, entitled, lost, lazy, rude, sad, sweet, spoiled, precious children can become engaged active citizens.

I love school.

I love the unsung heroes of every school. The front office ladies and men who hold down the fort, provide tissue (often paid for by them since, you know, tissue is a luxury and all), give band aids, advice, and tardy slips. They know who is fake crying to get out of class and who is really ill or sad. They are mean and strict in the best grandmother, great auntie or uncle kinda way. They know all the parents and who is in after care, who has a doctor or dentist appointment. They know who waits outside alone after school because mom is always late. They know which forms teachers have to fill out, they order your supplies and make sure they get to you on time, running the ins and outs of dry erase markers, No.#2 pencils and paper clips like a mafia syndicate (Oops, you didn't get that box of paper? Guess you shouldn't be so rude when you ask! Fuggeta 'boutit!)

I love school.

I love the crazy structure. Recess at 10:40 - 10:55. Whaaat?! Few other work environments run off the clock like that. I recently taught a group of teachers. When I said lunch at noon. There was a collective cry of Noooooo! That was too late. They wanted to eat at 11:35. We compromised with 11:45. bells ring at the oddest times  Nothing begins or stops on the hour or half hour. Always 55, 35, 25. Why? BECAUSE schools have to operate with illogical precision, no minute wasted.

There's sooo much more to love and yet and still I also hate schools, I hate teaching art, I'm over it! As I type that I'm already thinking about how I will rearrange my room, the systems I hope to put in place.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Art makes Creative, Happy, Brave Kids

Art makes creative, happy, brave kids!

Our centers experiment was a success.  Choice Based Art is here to stay! As a first attempt my students and I learned a lot. I look forward to fall and many improvements in the system. The kids did great work and more importantly they challenged themselves and they grew. When asked to give three words that describe the feeling of creating a treasured piece of art here are some of the words kids said:


 ACOE's Inventing Our Future Summer Institute.

More Teaching Artists needed! If you are out there in the "interwebs" reading this PLEASE fill out the Teaching Artist Questionnaire so we can continue to build a resource for each other. Read over past post to see what other Teaching Artists have to say about their art and teaching. get inspired, participate. The link is right u there on the right it! Thanks!