Day 7 – Our Friday

Hi, friends. Today was a very big day for me.  My first period class has burrowed into a special place and I’m beginning to feel very welcomed and accepted with them. Yesterday, I was doing my walk-around and noticed Ashley’s visual journal out on her table and asked if I could look at it tomorrow (today). She sent it home with me and I made a page (remember my post yesterday?) for her to glue in if she wanted to. Ashley is a girl after my heart — she loves music (and by love it I truly mean she loves it. Unconditionally). Nearly every page was covered in music lyrics — things that seem hard and true and real and a struggle. It included things that some people may never share with anyone. Knowing Ashley trusted me to see that much of her was a true honor.

My first period has connected with me on so many levels. Yesterday Ashley allowed me to take her visual journal home with her... it was beautiful and packed with song lyrics. I made a spread for Ashley with Incubus lyrics: "There's something about the look in yours. something I notice when the light is just right. It reminded me twice that I was alive, and it reminded me that you're so worth the fight."

My first period has connected with me on so many levels. Yesterday Ashley allowed me to take her visual journal home with her… it was beautiful and packed with song lyrics. I made a spread for Ashley with Incubus lyrics: “There’s something about the look in yours. something I notice when the light is just right. It reminded me twice that I was alive, and it reminded me that you’re so worth the fight.”

Today after she read the page, she walked up to be and gave me a huge hug. “Thank you so much, it’s beautiful.” She walked away and then came the tears. How do you teachers do it? I’m going to cry every day. I’m already at four in a row. I can’t handle it. It’s amazing. She also started a new project today. She’s going to use india inks! So excited:

Ashley's new project!

Ashley’s new project!

Mary's incredible chandelier.

Mary’s incredible chandelier.

Second period, Bowers gave me the courage to help teach. We introduced contour line drawings today. Bowers spoke on contour and gave a mini lesson on line quality and drawing through shapes and line, then transitioned into a contour drawing of their bookbags.

My eighth graders working on contour drawings of their bookbags.

My eighth graders working on contour drawings of their bookbags.

photo 4

Bowers working alongside our eighth graders today. One of the things I love most about her is that she makes art with her artists.

Bowers working alongside our eighth graders today. One of the things I love most about her is that she makes art with her artists.

So after we worked on contour drawings, I read an excerpt from a book called “The Things We Carry” by Tim O’Brien, an account of his experiences as a Vietnam soldier.

The things they carried were largely determined by necessity. Among the necessities or near necessities were P-38 can openers, pocket knives, heat tabs, wrist watches, dog tags, mosquito repellant, chewing gum, candy, cigarettes, salt tablets, packets of Kool-Aid, lighters, matches, sewing kits, Military Payment Certificates, C rations, and two or three canteens of water. Together, these items weighed between fifteen and twenty pounds, depending upon a man’s habits or the rate of metabolism. The things they carried were determined to some extent by superstition. For the most part they carried themselves with poise, a kind of dignity. They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die. Grief, terror, love, longing – these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight. They carried shameful memories. They carried the common secret of cowardice barely retrained, the instinct to run or freeze or hide, and in many respects this was the heaviest burden of all, for it could never be put down.

After I read the excerpt, I explained to our students the difference between tangible and intangible — things we can physically touch and the things we carry inside us. I listed out some quick examples of what intangible burdens may be. We then asked our students to talk about ten things they carry – in the form of a list, a poem or a narrative. As they were working, I passed on student’s paper and saw on their list “regret, envy, need.” Tears filled my eyes as I realized that big things happen before high school. Students of all ages feel so much and they trust us with that information. How beautiful. After they walked out and I wiped those silly,  insistent tears from my face, all I could think was “how can this possibly get any better?”

Bowers took a dried paint palette today and turned it into this... she amazes me.

Bowers took a dried paint palette today and turned it into this… she amazes me.

During planning today I decided to write out my ten things I carry in my bag:

visual journal – for the words I can’t find
pencils – to create and erase
fear – of disappointing
pressure – to be perfect, kind, calm, collected, intelligent, funny, professional, wise, responsible, charming, spontaneous, put-together…
worry – that I may not be successful or accepted
mio – to flavor my water… and bring sweetness to the ordinary
harry potter book – to remind me to be brave, even in the midst of dementors
pride – in my accomplishments, in my love for life, in the investments of my heart, and the works and minds of my students
courage – in hopes that one day, when I need it, it will be there
self-worth – if I don’t have it, no one else is carrying it in their bag for me.

Shelby and Animalions in 5th period. :)

Shelby and Animalions in 5th period. 🙂

This weekend Bowers is running a half marathon in Charleston, so she gave me the day off tomorrow to work on writing my curriculum unit that I start teaching Tuesday (EEEEEEEP!).

Even the substitute folder is beautiful.

Even the substitute folder is beautiful.

Madison's gorgeous prisma.

Madison’s gorgeous prisma.

photo 5 (2)

Bowers and Fellows experimenting with more paint dripping!

Bowers and Fellows experimenting with more paint dripping!

So I promised my likes and dislikes. Here goes nothing.

  • I don’t like gossip. It makes me sad.
  • I like movies, cars, and jokes. Share those all day long.
  • I don’t like things that look or resemble blood or needles. Don’t joke about that. It will never be funny. Especially when I throw up everywhere.
  • I love Star Trek and Harry Potter.
  • Dogs, chai tea, film photography, Tuscan Red, and small lights make me so happy.
  • I don’t like brussel sprouts. Or asparagus. Ew.
  • I don’t like people talking when I’m giving instructions or saying something important. Rude.
  • I don’t mind cell phones – if you don’t touch them, leave them in my class, text on them, send Snapchats, troll Instagram or Tweet the stupid things I say. There’s a time and place for all of that, and it isn’t in my class.
  • I like weird words, making up words, and using the wrong words. The struggle is real, y’all hang in there.
  • I like Tommy. He’s the coolest person I know. Ask me anything about him. I love to talk about him. (You’ll see)
  • Grading is hard. I don’t like doing it, so don’t give me a reason to give you anything other than an A.
  • I don’t do nails on chalkboards, or anything that resembles that sound. Please, don’t.
  • I’m not into people who talk over others, or who love to hear themselves talk. Give everyone a turn.
  • I’m so into awkward. I love awkward like it’s my job.
  • If I could be any fictional character, ever, it would be Hermione Granger. If you don’t know who that is, take a lap.
  • I love to read, knit, collect dogs and eat sweet potatoes

And I’m sure it will be added to… That was surprisingly funny. It’s almost like an “about me” on MySpace. I haven’t written one of those in ages.

Today’s inspiration pieces:

05defa62c58ed1b2830fe23d89e50733

6af35ebd86d382330acbb107c1d944ef

Song of the blog:
ECHO // INCUBUS

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.

 

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