Sunday, August 25, 2013

Summer Moments I Appreciated the Most

I have to say, this summer was one of the shortest on record. Naturally, I enjoyed spending extra time with my family and friends but as an art teacher, there were a few moments this summer that I really needed to have.

Last school year I burned myself out. Not literally but I did feel so exhausted from having such an incredibly busy/wonderful school year. It was my own fault because our school had so many wonderful events that I couldn't help but be a part of. We celebrated our 50th anniversary and really went all out,
a   l   l     y  e  a  r     l  o  n  g with exhaustive preparation. Outside of the classroom, I worked on 16 different projects. Yes, I was love with each project.

Mural after mural, field trips, art contests, art shows and exhibitions, technology projects, Earth Day, fundraisers. It went on and on all year.

Feeling exhausted for most of July, I decided that I would have to be a stronger person immediately. My weakness is that I am easily inspired by amazing art, concepts and ideas. I like to figure out how to make things work and I like to do it in the company of others.  It will be a forever challenge but while feeling "burned out" you start to wonder if the energy, time, effort and sweat is worth it.

I took a workshop at Grounds for Sculpture at the very end of July and literally scared the instructor with my creation...he could not look at it for long it's that hideous. What can I say, I was thinking about Halloween art projects! I think this scary face that I created out of clay was a reflective piece. The other adults were sculpting friendly faces and animals and then there was this thing I made.....

The moments that I experienced in the month of August came unexpectedly

While at Art in the Park, a camp of guest artists, a Bear Tavern parent said to me "I am so glad you're here this week..."
For those of you fellow teachers reading, you may or may not appreciate the value of those words to a recently recovered burned out teacher but the value in such a candid comment caught me by surprise.
I actually had to digest and process the words. When I did finish my processing (hours later) those words became engraved in my heart for the timing and sincerity of them.

Then I led my groups through creating self-portraits and felt my heart swell as these students did an incredible job.

Again, unexpectedly, I felt myself feeling energized by the art and by the kids enjoying the process of creating. Many of the kids I had taught before and had not seen in a few years so it was great to see how wonderfully they were maturing.

notice the vintage Bear Tavern t-shirt
Art in the Park was a phenomenal week. I met some great people and reconnected with many. I went off to Florida and when I came back to Bear Tavern, another unexpected moment came to be. While giving a tour to some new teachers, my Principal says something along the lines of "And there's the Art Teacher, every staff member finds their inner artist (or becomes an artist) after stepping foot in this building".
feather project found on pinterest
Maybe I'm being mushy but how nice!
So all in all, I learned from these moments that I don't necessarily need to be a stronger person. I have all the strength I need and any bit that's missing I find in the support and company of the many around me.
Besides seeing my students in a couple of weeks, I am looking forward to seeing my colleagues and the parents that have been such a tremendous support.