Day 5 – It’s a beautiful day.

I have a sweet potato in the oven and I am so excited about it. I’m starting my post a little late tonight, but unfortunately being a grown up comes first. I’m going to try my very best to be in bed by 11:00 tonight (maybe 10?). We’ll see how that goes…

photo 1 (2)

Every day is starting to rock my world. I’m getting a little more accustomed to the “Teacher Tired.” I think over the next week or two I will sync up with the schedule. It’s almost like jet lag. I’m working on taking more pictures, because I love a blog with lots of images AND because these kids amaze me literally every single day. I’ve shared this link with them in hopes that they will check it out. I’ve asked all of them if I can share their work and they seem really excited!

First block is such a good way to start my day. They’re a really sweet group of students. Olivia (Olive) has been working on this AMAZING mixed media piece:

Olive's KILLER mixed media piece. She used a laser cutter in combination with bleeding tissue paper, paint, conte crayon and prisma. She's going to collage the rays.

Olive’s KILLER mixed media piece. She used a laser cutter in combination with bleeding tissue paper, paint, conte crayon and prisma. She’s going to collage the rays.

I wanted to spend a little extra time talking about 8th grade today. This is the youngest class Bowers has, and every semester she gets a new group of them. She and I were both excited for me to see how she interacts with a new group. It has helped me so much in planning and considering how I want to structure the psychology and environment of my classroom.

8th grade's intro unit. Bowers is amazing.

8th grade’s intro unit. Bowers is amazing.

Every day I am here, I discover more and more how much I took for granted about Mrs. Bowers. Now that I am seeing her in a different light — as a fellow educator, I am seeing so much more.

I watched her with our eighth grade class today — they are new this semester and most have never drawn before. She started the semester with a firm hand, but today I watched her walk to every table, every student, and a kind word was said to every single one of them. Watching her move and interact brings me literally to tears. I wish I knew in high school what a miracle, a blessing, an aura to the doldrums of life that she was. Seeing the look on these students faces in response to her praises is truly something unforgettable. I want to be this person for someone, someday. Just one person, and my life will be perfect.

Today was the first time the students in 8th grade did a walk-around. This is where all the students stand up and walk about all the tables and look at each others work. Bowers told them before they started that they were never allowed to criticize or mock one anothers’ art work. I love that she is instilling those ideals in her students already.

Dylis works so hard in first block. She never fails to come in and get in the zone.

Dylis works so hard in first block. She never fails to come in and get in the zone.

4th block girls gettin' their paint on. (Ashley and Kennedy make such pretty palettes!)

First block girls gettin’ their paint on. (Ashley and Kennedy make such pretty palettes!)

Camille's astronaut! So beautiful.

Camille’s astronaut! So beautiful.

Tomorrow our girls have a swim meet and I’m wearing my red and black to support them! We’re traveling to Riverside. I haven’t been to a swim meet since I competed in high school (which, let’s be real, was a total joke. I sucked). These girls are so close to qualifying for state, so I’m sending good thoughts, peace and strength to our girls relay.

A man and his duck. Chase got so much done on his prisma assignment today.

A man and his duck. Chase got so much done on his prisma assignment today.

Steven working on a watercolor/prisma shell for AP

Steven working on a watercolor/prisma shell for AP

“my nut in a lifeshell.” – Steven

I’m working on my unit for 4th period. Today I was shown how to order materials, and was also humbled and so grateful by the access I have to such amazing materials here. We were able to order 20 new boxes of clay and 15 new glazes. I am so excited for students to start their “homage” project. I will share in greater detail, but I will drop a hint: it includes a hot beverage with a very important person.

A doodle of mine, inspired by artist Caitlin Foster and my sweet students!

A doodle of mine, inspired by artist Caitlin Foster and my sweet students!

I’m getting stronger. I’m feeling braver. I’m ready.

Song of the blog:
LET THE GROOVE GET IN // JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

Day 4 – A Case of the Mondays

Whew. I have GOT to start getting more sleep.

Coffee wasn’t going to be enough this morning, and fortunately, I knew that last night when I went to the store. I picked up a Starbucks green tea energy drink, in Raspberry Pomegranate (my favie, yummers!). Didn’t make a difference. The first half of the day I could have been dead on a doormat and no one would have known the difference. Note to self, midnight is not a good bed time anymore. Ten PM at the latest. The struggle has been real.  Anyway, enough self-induced self-pity. Moving on…

Other than my zombie brain during the first two periods, today was a good day. Interesting, if nothing else. My first period is our Art III class, and they are working on a Prismacolor project. Two of my sweet students, Alison and Lindsey, let me photograph their work today:

Lindsey's Loki Prisma piece

Lindsey’s Loki Prisma piece

Alison Ortega's Prisma piece.

Alison Ortega’s Prisma piece.

Second period is 8th grade. Those kinds are sweet, but they’re also brand new. Bowers is so good with names, and I’m trying really hard to get them (usually I am champion status at names, but sheesh! 80 students a day is so much to remember). I’m getting better… slowly, but surely. Bowers and the students have been a big help. I’m glad they are patient with me while I struggle to remember something as simple as their name. Our 8th graders are learning to draw realistically. Today, Mrs. Bowers allowed me to read information sheets they fill out at the beginning of her class. They have a few simple questions, and it’s truly incredible to see what answers to quirky questions (and handwriting) can help you learn about your students. I am so excited.

Ms. Mockett, going to lunch stag today.

Ms. Mockett, going to lunch stag today.

Mrs. Bowers was elected as Teacher of the Month (the third time this year) and had a luncheon with Rotary Club for 4th and 5th periods today, so I was interested to see how things shifted. They definitely did once Bowers left, but 5th period was the biggest challenge. The students are sweet, but they also love to talk and the volume level got out of hand really quickly. I felt awkward trying to reign them in, but I also felt a bit disrespected, knowing they would not normally be so loud and off task if Bowers were there. So today I got to exercise a “teacher” card. It felt weird and I don’t like having to raise my voice because I couldn’t hear myself speak at a normal level. I find myself gaining a little confidence and starting to understand (and remember) how student’s work. I know they don’t mean to be disrespectful, and in truth, they aren’t, really, but I also know they don’t see me on the same level as Bowers (which I am not). It’s a fine line between speaking up and letting things go, but today I spoke up. It was scary, but hearing the class settle afterward made it worth it. Other students are there to work on the project at hand and look forward to art. I want them to be able to hear themselves think, and I would want a teacher that would keep the classroom that way for me.

AP students are submitting their portfolios of their work thus far to Bowers tomorrow. I was asked to help pick some prints and works today. I felt honored and excited; the GWA students are so talented and gifted. I also plucked up the courage to ask my APeepers if I could photograph them for my exit show, and invited them to come. Most of them said yes right away. A few others seemed uncomfortable, but I can understand that. They don’t know me very well yet. I just hope in the next month, they change their mind. I would love to have several faces to show. All of these students are already changing me.

My vocab word for all of student teaching:

My vocab word for all of student teaching:

Kennedy in 5th period told me today that if she could pick any actress to play her, she would pick Carey Mulligan. Camille and I both said Emma Stone. The small conversations like this make me happy. Also, to see a current high schooler still swoon over the amazing talent of Kate Winslet brings me great pleasure. There was an 8th grade girl in class today who knew who Tom Petty was. Perfect. Because Tom Petty songs can never be skipped in Bowers’ class. Never.

Today, one of my girlfriends, Paige, sent me this text:

Just wanted to tell you that you and your blog inspired me to start really utilizing my visual journal. For the first time in almost a year, I made art just because I like to make art. So thank you, really.

And with it she sent this picture:

Paige’s Visual Journal
Paige's Visual Journal

Paige’s Visual Journal

Can I just say one thing? THAT ^ is what I live for. Paige, I love you. Thank you.

I start teaching my unit Tuesday… EEP. I’m working on writing my curriculum tonight. We’re doing a clay unit, I’m SO EXCITED! I’d like to leave a few inspiration pieces, keep my brain juices flowing. Also, doing a song of the day:

APPLE BLOSSOM // THE WHITE STRIPES

jan 13 inspiration

Day 3 – Feelin’ Sassier.

I’m not gonna lie, y’all. I’m TIRED. Like, walked in the door, kicked off my shoes, made a hot chai and hit the bed tired. This is going to take some getting used to. But now I’m sitting in the warmth of a bed. Winning.

Today started off a little crazy. I woke up late (5:45 instead of 5:15, eeeesh), made a breakfast and forgot it until the last minute, hunted for my phone for fifteen minutes (how I could look that long for it in my tiny apartment, I have no idea. I found it in my robe pocket. Really?), packed all my weekend bags and loaded them up in the rain, had to stop and get gas when I was already running ten minutes late, people driving like the world is ending…. it was nuts. Shake my head. BUT! I got more coffee creamer and found my favorite coffee in Keurig form:

8 O Clock Original -- there a few coffees better than this one.

8 O Clock Original — there a few coffees better than this one.

I had some good, easy, fun (oh, those words are so wonderful) conversations with our students today.  In first period students talked about their cars and trucks while I embroidered in my visual journal (can I just say I missed that thing?). Second period we went to the Nicholson Center to hear Theresa Edwards, four time gold-medal winning Olympic basketball player, give a motivational speech. I love that great athletes give speeches that can relate to everyone. One line brought me to tears:

There is no secret to hard work.

Now, ain’t that one of the truest things you’ve ever heard?

photo 2

Bowers’ amazing cupcake collection.

Third period is planning, and I just want to say that my teacher is a phenomenal woman. I was so fortunate to know her and have her before this, but to see her as a teacher from a teacher’s perspective now is something else entirely. She is one of 6 incredible educators who has changed me, permanently.

Three of our boys decided to work with clay in 5th period today and I worked with them. Chase threw a cup, Reid pulled his first cup and Dean centered and started his first vessel, too. I didn’t realize that a sense of pride so strong comes from knowing you helped a student learn something new. Reid threw his first cup, and I found my teacher and asked her to come look. I was so proud of him, and the look on his face when he thinned those walls for the first time will hopefully be an image I remember for ages.  I felt so at ease in the clay room and I wasn’t exactly expecting that. While I have EXPERIENCE with clay, I definitely am lacking in the finesse category. But the right words to say came a little easier today. I found myself giving tips and pointers: “keep as much water out of the inside of the cup as you can” “don’t let the wheel spin too fast after you’ve started to pull — the momentum can throw your cup off center” “Remember, Reid, equal pressure through both arms.” I’m not bragging or trying to give myself props… but I was proud of myself today. It felt more tangible — the idea of being able to communicate instructions and assistance to students. They understood me, and furthermore, listened. I felt confident for the first time since Wednesday (I know, that’s only two days, but those first two days are seriously intimidating and seem so important).

The APeepers (AP Art students) are trying to sort out their concentrations and one of our ladies wanted to try a new painting inspired by Philip Barlow:

Philip Barlow

Philip Barlow

So we took two of her classmates, dressed ’em out and went outdoors to give a shot of our own. Here are my favorites from today:

Kayleigh and AB

Kayleigh and AB

Kayleigh and AB

Kayleigh and AB

I am so excited to see Libby work on these.

I’m feeling a bit of inspiration of my own — I’ve been working on my visual journal and plan to start a new project next week. I’m thinking a painting? Here are small blips of my sources of inspiration this week:

Week 1 Inspiration

Week 1 Inspiration

Time for dinner. I’m going to plan a project to start next week. I’ll fill you guys in… I might even blog over the weekend! Okay, Tommy is poking me, and harassing me until we eat, so I guess I better go eat my Bullrito’s.

 

George Walton, Day 2

I decided today that I would like to keep track of this amazing experience this time around. I’m the worst about writing something every day so I am hoping this will keep me motivated. I know every day will hold something incredibly different for me.

I’m student teaching at George Walton Academy. My cooperating teacher is an incredible human. She taught me when I was at Eastside. I’m there every day, from 7:45-3:15, hopefully some days I’ll be there even later. I find myself wishing so many things, but first and foremost, sharing my experience.

There are 6 periods and we have 5 classes:
Art 3
8th grade
Art I/Art II
Art I/Art II
AP Art

There are so many things that are in my head at the end of the day and part of me is glad I have a small commute home. It gives me time to think and analyze things that happen. Yesterday passed too quickly to even hold on to, but today I tried very hard to be present and to remember.

I’m starting to remember names. And students are starting to remember mine. There are some I feel so close to already, others I wonder if they will ever allow me to know them. I fear sometimes that it may be difficult, stepping in halfway through the year, after relationships have been established and trust has been built. At times I feel invasive — like maybe I should not be there or do not deserve to be there. I have not earned their trust, but desperately wish they would give it to me. Things like this aren’t covered in undergrad. We don’t talk about how long and how much work it takes to be the person your student needs. We don’t talk about the fact that some students will never trust you because they cannot trust themselves, how to handle ‘mean girls’, what is okay to say and what is not okay to say (apart from the obvious), how much distraction is acceptable or how much is too much, how we become confident in OUR work (something I am struggling SO much with), earning respect, being open but not too open… there are so many fine lines and I want definition and structure and answers. I have to earn them.

Yesterday I spoke with a few students in 5th period about using watercolor and sharpie in their visual journals. A group of girls were doodling on the pages with every color of sharpie imaginable, but they blew through the pages, one after another after another. I offered up my words to perhaps give them a new way to look at their markers and a new way to look at their pages — to find things that already exist and to utilize them. But I have also noticed I undermine the things I say — “but it’s just an idea, I know it’s kind of weird.” “Just me? Yeah, that’s totally cool and normal. I’m sorry.” “I just made that aca-awkward.” So today I nearly cried when I heard a student from that table ask across the room “Ms. Mockett, will you show me how to do that thing you were talking about yesterday with the sharpie and the watercolors?” She remembers my name? She remembered I spoke? SHE THINKS I HAVE COOL IDEAS?! I said of course, of course, and even told her I made a page last night so I could show her just in case she wanted to learn or see (pathetic, much?). So I pulled out my sketchbook and showed her:

Sharpie & Watercolor

So then we chatted for a minute and I sat there awkwardly, with all my materials. I had to give a demo. I started to talk and then stopped. What do I say? How do I explain this? You just USE watercolor and then once it dries, adorn it with sharpie… it’s that simple, right? They stared at me, waiting. I struggled with my words. I tried to think of more detailed things to say, more helpful things, but they didn’t come to me. So, I just did it. I threw out a few helpful hints “the more saturated the water color on your brush, the more vibrant it will be on your paper” – “there’s an artist that does amazing things by painting one side of a sheet, folding it in half, and then finding real objects to draw in the created shapes” – “another cool thing you can do is resist painting — here, I’ll show you.” Things just kept falling out of my mouth. I couldn’t help it — I wanted to tell them everything I knew about mixed media, and visual journals, and material appropriation. This was her end result:

jan 9th demo

She incorporated a little bit of everything I said in her page…

It is hard, to find yourself worthy of students’ love, to feel worthy or knowledgeable enough to teach them, to find the right words to say, to know what they love to draw, what their style is, what materials they prefer, how to console them when they are frustrated. For years, I have sat in classes, been that student, learning things but not ever experiencing them. I don’t want my students to ever feel like I held anything back from them.

An amazing student work.

An amazing student work.

AP work on display

AP work on display in the classroom

Bowers, my CT, is a huge fan of six word memoirs — a six word sentence that sums up your whole life. Hers is “Wasn’t awkward until I made it.” Camille, one of my 4th period girls, asked me what mine was and I said I didn’t have one yet. She laughed and said, “Okay, cool. You have to have one by the end of the semester. That’s your goal.” I scanned the room and realized one had bloomed during that short conversation:

“This has changed my life, forever.”

Is it really just around the corner?

I woke up this morning and reached over to grab an embroidery piece I’m working on. It’s for my father and his new wife in their new home. As I’m working on my backstitch, I remember that I learned this in a classroom. I dyed the fabric I’m stitching on. I own 8 embroidery hoops.

My living room has two containers of yarn and knitting needles. The wash rag by my sink is stained from paint. My desk top is completely collaged. I have prints framed in my living room. How beautiful is my life?

Next semester I begin student teaching. These next two months will be my last months in a classroom that will not be partially my own… The last time saying, “oh, I have an 8 am” or “I’m just so ready for this crit to be done so I can breathe again.” My last time wandering the Dodd as a student. The last time I will just be “Kaitlynn” when I am in the school. What is my life?

Is the next step really so close to me? I can finally see the stairs and I am beside myself with excitement. I’ll miss UGA and everything it has given me, but words could never share how ready I am to have students of my own; to change lives and be changed, to make art because I want to, to have students that share their lives with me, or even just one who will. I am so ready to make my life into creative material…

Some fine art majors scoff at art education as a program… Some belittle it or believe it to be meaningless. I giggle. My major is incredible. I learn about myself every single day sitting in these classes. I get to CHOOSE what studios I take, what my emphasis is, what grades I want to teach, what is important to me and what is not. Not only that, everything I learn is intended to be passed along to fresh minds. I get to share everything I know and I want to. Sure, we discuss professional dress and the standards and what we should and shouldn’t say. We also learn how others learn so that we may flex and accommodate all of our students. We talk about what is worthy of art making (which just so happens to be every detail in your life), we discuss why we are passionate and what we care most about, the actual innocence level of children, writing curriculum as a creative act, not as a chore, appropriating standards so they may become helpful tools instead of chains which we are locked to. Why we matter…

Am I shaking in my shoes at the thought of teaching? Of course. But my fear never outweighs the time I have waited, the struggle I have endured, the fire in my heart that fuels the want for this next timeframe in my life.

To my students I have not yet met: I love you already. You bring out amazing things in me — thoughts I did not know I was capable of creating. I want to change your life in some small way and I know you will change mine.

“Be who you were created to be and you will set the world on fire.
St. Catherine of Sienna

Being There and Being With Others

So here I am, signed up for a summer semester, with the world’s best class. Finally, UGA is offering an art ed. studio course thanks to Chris Schulte. I’m able to implement all the direction and information gathered in art education classes and apply it to my art materials. I’ve decided I want to get as much as I possibly can out of this class, so I’m going to write in a journal each day, and if all goes well, type up each entry here. I’d also like to document my works of art as they progress, change, shift, transcend and are influenced by both my instructor and my peers.

How do you “be there and be with others”?

Most importantly – being present in one’s life, one’s classroom and within oneself (wide awakeness, as Rebecca Williams calls it, and as Libba Willcox implemented it).

How do you be with others?
-listening
-engaging in conversation (more than just surface deep)
-asking questions (real ones)
-support (as an instructor but also as a mentor)
-encourage and challenge
– pushing of conceptual and technical applications, material exploration and the use of personal experience as creative material.

How can I be with my students?
-It is important to me to leave all personal struggles in the car. I want to create a safe and positive learning environment and therefore, I must be positive, strong, engaged and genuinely interested because that is what my students deserve.
-Push the idea of collaboration. I want to make art with my students and among my students. I think it is important to show them I am a maker of art, not just an instructor of art.
-do not plan so far ahead and so tightly that there is no room for change. Be open to a shift in the class if my students take interest in something else.
-Consider the idea of radical hospitality and how it can be applied in a classroom (high school, specifically). I love this idea of Chris’ coffee – maybe create a new ritual or tradition similar to this. I love the thought of a ten minute, beginning of class pow-wow.

Art Making – being there and being with others
-knots: embroidery, crochet and knitting
-idea of unification without assimilation: mixed media or photo portrait series.
-the idea of working together as separate pieces to create a stronger whole. (similar to the exquisite corpse)

  • panels that add to a larger piece?
  • talking – how to translate/transcend conversation into tangible art.

 

 

Visual Journals

Can I just teach a visual journal class? How incredible would it be to just sit down every day, open up a book of your choice and make art inspired by anything you can think of? All contained inside something you can easily carry with you and made of paper that can withstand various materials. Ugh, dream job. Maybe one day?

In high school, a wonderful woman introduced visual journals to me: Libba Willcox. We had a prompt at the beginning of class each day. Sometimes, when things were going well and if the majority of us were invested in whatever page we were working on, it became the class period. We pushed the assignment to the side and continued to journal. It wasn’t until much later that I realized how important this process became to me. Just the idea of literally taking your thoughts and turning them into tangible “feels,” as my friend Nicole likes to call them.

Since I plan to teach secondary art education, I feel as though visual journals will be a large part of my focus. I decided that perhaps instead of prompts that are questions, I may use prompts that are statements, quotes, song lyrics and then request a page be created in response to it. Here are some of the quotes I have collected:

“Maybe our favorite quotations say more about us than about the stories and people we’re quoting.”
-John Greene

“One only sees well with the heart. The most important things are invisible to the eyes.”
– The Little Prince

“I must learn to love the fool in me: the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries.”
–Theodore Isaac Rubin.

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
–Shel Silverstien

“Close your eyes. Clear your heart. Let it go.”

“Be daring, be different, be impractical. Be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”
– Cecil Beaton

Ideas for Lesson Plans

Light and Shadow play – creating a lightbox. Photographing materials after they have been arranged. Use beads, shapes, clear pieces that are tinted with color, transparencies, feathers, ribbon.

Letter to Me – write a letter to yourself that you will put in a time capsule. Choose a line in your letter and create an artwork inspired by it.