Lost

Man, I hope I get used to drinking black coffee. Life makes so much less sense without creamy and sweet things. 😦

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I can’t seem to buckle down and do something as simple as blogging every day. That is one thing I used to hate about myself – my lack of commitment, but I think the better choice is to only try to improve. Try to get better. And when you think to do it, sit down and do it. So here I am. I’m between study breaks — I take my GACE exam this Friday, but I’m also home sick with a lovely bout of laryngitis, fun! I’m nervous about my exam, mostly because I have no idea what to expect, but hey, what is life, right? I guess it would do me better to never expect anything at all.

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One of Johnny’s cups from the Homage project… he is such a clean and deliberate artist. Love.

Some of you may know (others may not) that my student teaching at George Walton has ended. Friday was my last day. The words are hard to find, and maybe that’s why I’ve been putting this off. I did not know five short weeks could bring so much into my life, and also take away from it. The feeling of loss is still too prevalent, because those kids weren’t really MINE to lose. My eighth graders hurt the most because I was with them as long as Bowers was. I knew them from the beginning. Of course I miss all of the students; I had so many new lights in my life every day. But they are Bowers’ babies, and have had her and loved her for longer. They are invested in her.

Ortega’s test stencil. Phenomenal.

In some ways, student teaching at a high school felt like being back in high school again, but as a new girl. Some days I felt loved over all, others I felt like I had to earn or work for attention or trust. I think it was a powerful and humbling experience; I needed to remember what it felt like to be an outsider in order to appreciate how incredible it feels to be accepted. I learned so much in such a short amount of time… about teaching, but also, and moreso, about myself.

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Ashley, working on her hero, Jennifer Aniston. Those highlights are spot on.

When you make a decision to teach, at least for me, you feel excited, giddy and straight up terrified. I had no idea what to expect, of myself or the students. My students. I know they aren’t ‘mine’ but by the end of it all, it felt like that. My first day walking into George Walton left me falling over my feet. It was a private school, the behaviors and expectations were madly different than my public high school experience, I had teachers to impress, administrators to make proud, my own school to represent. I was working alongside someone who once taught me, and the relationship has changed and shifted since I graduated high school. The question of “what or how are we?” was one I frequently asked myself. What is my role? Who am I to her? Who am I to these students? What am I trying to gain or learn from this? But more than anything else:

“Is this what I am meant to do?”

Can anyone be truly certain of the path they choose at the time of choosing it? We can try to convince ourselves all day long that it’s fact, not choice. I’m MEANT to do this, it’s the only thing I would like forever, it’s the only career that will allow me to have a family, it’s the only way I can make sure my kids are safe, it’s the most logical solution to getting my kids through college, on and on and on. Sometimes I think we sell ourselves short. Maybe instead of looking at things as “well, yeah, this makes the most sense, I guess I should do it” we should see it as a risk. Do I love art? Duh. Do I love high school students? 98% of the time, absolutely. Do I think I can relate to them, write curriculum they will love and be interested in, be more than JUST an art teacher? Yes. Can I change their lives? …I think so? Will I love it every day? I want to say yes, but realistically, I know the answer is no. I guess the point is, even if it makes sense, CHOOSING to do it is still just that: a CHOICE. A choice that can backfire, blow up, explode, break your heart, go terribly wrong… The things we decide to do for the rest of our lives should never be undermined: that is a huge, powerful and risky commitment. Some of us may not see our lives like that: one big choice that determines how everything else unfolds. I do. I feel like being an art educator (and an artist) is the one way my life will unfold the way I hope it will. The magic and happy thought to finding the second star on the right. The secret to loving my life, loving my family, loving myself. By doing something I feel in my heart will satiate me every single day. That loving students and teaching art and growing and evolving will be more than enough. This is enough.

Helping my sweet Sarah on Emma. Another amazing portrait drawing by our 8th graders.

Maybe we should start to say, “Hey. I’m braver than I give myself credit for.” Every decision we make can result in a failure or a mishap. But we still choose them, even after weighing them heavily in each hand.

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Olive amazes me. This girl has an incredible work ethic, and her love of mixed media has been such an inspiration to me.

Friday was a big day for me. My experience at GWA could not have been any better, more powerful, more helpful, more rewarding. I don’t think I could have loved those students any more than I do right now. But having my 8th graders walk in with cupcakes, doritos (one of Bowers favorite things), and a huge card they all signed saying “we’ve been plotting since Monday!” and “we’re so glad we didn’t give it away, it was so hard!” Hug after hug after hug. They made a choice, too. They chose to love back. Chose to trust me, confide in me, invest in me. They didn’t have to do that. I could have been a wild card. I could have put on a face, pretended to be something I wasn’t, not return the love they were so graciously giving me. I am undeserving. I don’t think my 8th graders will read this, but if they do, please know this: you are amazing. You brought this experience to life for me. You were the real deal: my first students that were just as much mine as someone else’s. You taught me that it’s okay to care, it’s okay to open up, it’s okay to ask questions, make a fool of myself, admit that maybe I don’t know everything. And I don’t. Y’all know I don’t. Seeing your faces every day (and missing them now) has made my choice to be an art educator a fact. You have confirmed which I have been hoping all along would be true: I am meant to do this.

Brittany

Britt, working so hard on her portrait. Those eyes blow me away.

I have enough memorabilia to smother an entire board at my new school. The APeepers showered me with love and treats (OMG RACHEL THOSE CUPCAKES. I wish now that I had eaten five more) and beautiful art work. Mrs. Bowers created an insane and thorough “survival kit” for me to take when I begin… she is always thinking of me and going above and beyond to do what she thinks is best for me. It’s truly amazing, and I am so grateful.

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AP gems. ❤

I have learned a few things about myself: I am less scared than I believed myself to be, I am not as good at remembering names as I had hoped to be, I get comfortable too quickly, I am a pusher who knows how to properly push (Bowers… <3), I am an encourager and a motivator. And when I feel brave, there are few things that can stop me.

Ash and Kennedy, my sweet pair from first period. Every day they share headphones and help each other on their art.

George Walton, thank you for making me brave in a situation I believed would be impossible for me to find my feet.

This has changed my life, forever.

Song of the Blog:
EVERYTHING’S MAGIC // ANGELS AND AIRWAVES

Day 13 (and fourteen) – Every day blogging is kind of hard.

I love my life, y’all. I really do. When I feel like things are insane and don’t make sense, something happens to make it better. A few posts back, I mentioned that I lost my social media job. This past week, I found two new jobs to help with bills. Granted, they aren’t going to take care of everything I have, and it’s still going to be a tough run the next few months, but I am so excited to be working with Sue and Libby.

Mary's awesome new mixed media work. She's gessoed the surface and is attaching dyed book pages and bleeding tissue paper to the canvas. It reminds me of stained glass.

Mary’s awesome new mixed media work. She’s gessoed the surface and is attaching dyed book pages and bleeding tissue paper to the canvas. It reminds me of stained glass.

I only have a few short weeks left at GWA, and I am dreading leaving. Not necessarily because I am moving to elementary school (although, I am terrified of that) but because I have to leave these kids. Today, Gloria, my supervisor, came to visit and observe my first period class. They were so well behaved and I feel needed and wanted with them, which is something I feel that maybe some of my fellow student teachers do not feel as much of. Working next to Rebecca Bowers has been so good for me. She is the grounding factor — the person who has truly brought this experience to life. I can’t imagine what student teaching at any other school would be like, nor do I want to. I found out today that the yearbook is doing a page on my visit. Who does that? Amazing. They make me feel so special.

Olive, doin' work as always. First period started their mixed media pieces. Olive has big plans for this work.

Olive, doin’ work as always. First period started their mixed media pieces. Olive has big plans for this work.

So first period started their mixed media assignments. So far, everyone seems pretty pumped about the projects they have planned. I am eating it up because I ADORE mixed media — this facet of art making is where my heart resides the majority of the time.

Katherine decided to be brave and try a new medium today -- encaustic. Bowers and I are so excited and want to put melted wax on everything now!

Katherine decided to be brave and try a new medium today — encaustic. Bowers and I are so excited and want to put melted wax on everything now!

The Homage project is going so well. I feel like our fourth period is really getting the hang of the different processes. Bowers and I discussed the project some last week… I was nervous because students seemed a bit frustrated and lost. She told me though, that she was never able to teach more than one process at a time because she could only be in one place at a time. The students have been given three options for this: throwing, coil building and pinch pots. It’s truly amazing what some of them are making:

Taylor working on her coiled vessel.

Taylor working on her coiled vessel.

Ashley smoothing out several rows of her coils.

Ashley smoothing out several rows of her coils.

Dustin has already completed both cups (pinch pots... aren't they stunning?) and has now moved on to his storage vessel! So proud.

Dustin has already completed both cups (pinch pots… aren’t they stunning?) and has now moved on to his storage vessel! So proud.

I’m continuing to work on a mixed media piece of my own — I believe it will be the piece I use in my exit show this spring. It has grown and shifted and is a piece that discusses ups, downs, and constant searching. I’ve decided to be brave and do a self-portrait. Bowers and I discussed (PS – I LOVE how many times I can include those four words in a single blog post… she’s so amazing) the feelings my piece provokes, and I agreed with her when she said a self-portrait is a very vulnerable work. It will pair well with the layering and handwritten text I have going now. I will photograph it tomorrow and post, so you can see the update (if you care to).

This time has passed too quickly. Every day reveals something more beautiful than the last. AP stole my heart today (they do every day, of course, but today was the best one yet). I watched three students try a brand new medium/process they have never done before, I laughed until I cried, watched Aud and Kelly pour too much tempera, made stamps next to Stephen, admired Pellegrino’s portrait, added another layer of gesso and talked a lot about wax… (AB).

I thought a lot today during planning when I was working on my piece. I wrote on it “if teaching is easy, you’re doing it wrong.” I think tomorrow I will add “if teaching is everything you could ever want and more, you’re doing it right.”

I dunno. I am the learned and the learner. The art educator and the artist. It’s becoming harder every day to separate these roles, and I think that is perfect.

Song of the Blog:
THE LIGHTHOUSE SONG // NICKEL CREEK

Day 10 – and eleven

So last night I didn’t post. Because I suck. Actually, there are a few reasons I didn’t post, but that doesn’t really matter. I’m here now, right?

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Sometimes I wonder what else I would write on this blog if I knew it wasn’t public, or that many people could find it. The past two days have been a little tough, and for reasons I should not and cannot discuss, if I want to be considered professional. More than anything else, I wonder when confrontation changed from face to face to behind the internet, and I also wonder how many people get hurt on a daily basis about the careless comments other people make. I also wish I had the guts to defend and protect and step up when it is necessary. After seeing someone amazing get hurt several times over, it’s becoming more compelling every day to put on the Superman suit under my work clothes… I know my followers probably don’t need to hear this, but maybe some of your friends or kids need to: don’t be a coward. Don’t say hurtful things as if they have no consequence. Don’t be stupid and foolish enough to think that you can keep those things a secret when they’re floating around in the universe for anyone to find. And don’t do it to the people I love. Because I’m not afraid. I’m a Hufflepuff, and we are fiercely loyal and never interfere until we are attacked. Once that happens, you better tuck your tail and run. I will dig you out of the ground if I must.

Ashley's beautiful india ink painting!

Ashley’s beautiful india ink painting!

Okay, end rant. Sorry. Other, amazing things have happened, too (and they obviously outweigh any bad!)

Ortega's Tower Bridge is coming along so beautifully!

Ortega’s Tower Bridge is coming along so beautifully!

Bowers finally came back to school today! HOORAY! We all missed her, but I especially did! Yesterday I was with Mr. Reagan, who was SO awesome, but it still felt weird not having Bowers there. Today we were day-dreaming about co-teaching. We decided we would take over the world, if it were possible for the two of us to work together. It was awesome.

Dylis' prisma has progressed so much. These skin tones are so gorgeous.

Dylis’ prisma has progressed so much. These skin tones are so gorgeous.

So Monday we are starting a mixed media assignment with first block! It’s going to be so awesome. 🙂 I love mixed media, it’s one of the things I feel comfortable and confident doing. I actually have quite a few students who are interested in doing embroidery! AB already has this gorgeous piece mapped out, but Kristen is going to embroider her work, too!

KDunn's portrait/mixed media piece in the beginning stages!

KDunn’s portrait/mixed media piece in the beginning stages!

Do you guys remember the project of Caroline’s I was talking about last blog? Take a look at this! I am so in love with it:

Caroline's painting!

Caroline’s painting!

A detail shot of the painting! She used paint palettes and is now adding color on top of them.

A detail shot of the painting! She used paint palettes and is now adding color on top of them.

Bailey's prisma. The reflections are so awesome.

Bailey’s prisma. The reflections are so awesome.

Today, eighth grade had their first “Experimental Friday.” Every Friday, Bowers allows anyone in any of her classes (except for maybe AP) to work on something different, usually visual journals! Today our sweet 8th graders worked on theirs for the first time! Bowers gave a demo on bleeding tissue paper (one of my FAVORITE things ever)!

Bowers giving a demo!

Bowers giving a demo!

Our 8th graders made some BEAUTIFUL pages today — I am so moved by their kind hearts.

Stevi experimenting with bleeding tissue paper!

Stevi experimenting with bleeding tissue paper!

Mallory's visual journal page

Mallory’s visual journal page

Jesse's visual journal

Jesse’s visual journal

Stevi and Mallory tag-teaming a page.

Stevi and Mallory tag-teaming a page.

My beautiful classroom and gorgeous students working hard in their journals.

My beautiful classroom and gorgeous students working hard in their journals.

These kids skills have improved so much in just two short weeks.  They are such great listeners, and have been working hard. I love seeing their faces every single day, knowing they are eager and excited to be in our class. Their visual journal pages were beautiful.

Danielle's visual journal page, inspired by song lyrics by Passenger (I think...)

Danielle’s visual journal page, inspired by song lyrics by Passenger (I think…)

Macy's awesome visual journal page! Love the tufts of tissue paper.

Macy’s awesome visual journal page! Love the tufts of tissue paper.

4th period’s clay project is going really well! We have a lot of students making pinch pot cups (Ted would be so glad!) and the homage idea has been so beautiful. Jade is paying homage to Poe:

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Audrey started a new piece today… it might look familiar to some of you:

Audrey's started a new breadth piece for her AP concentration!

Audrey’s started a new breadth piece for her AP concentration!

I’m so excited. She’s doing the entire base in watercolor, then she’s going on top of it with prisma and chalk pastel. It’s going to be gorgeous.

So today, for the first time in a long time, I took out a big canvas and started a piece. Bowers talked it out with me. It felt so good to just start working something out without really knowing what the end result was going to be. As I started gesso-ing my found drawing board, I realized in a way it really felt like my life. I know that sounds ridiculous, but this past month and the future months as well hold nothing but unknown territory for me. I don’t know how I’m going to pay my bills, not sure I’m going to find a job when I graduate, I have no idea if I will be successful in an elementary school, I have no idea where I’ll be living or what my life will be like… but the idea of all the things that CAN happen are so incredible and beautiful it’s almost worth the terror of uncharted waters.

Maybe it’s okay to let things happen. Maybe it’s okay to not be certain of what’s next in line. Maybe it’s okay to work it as you go and to accept what comes, and what doesn’t. Maybe it’s okay to fail and try again until you figure it out. Maybe all those things together can make something really beautiful…

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Today, after most of AP had cleared out, AB turned around as she was walking out the door and said something magic:

“Love you, Ms. Mockett”

Song of the blog:
AIN’T IT FUN // PARAMORE

Day 9 – Assume the position

So today was an interesting day… (wow, I have had long nails for a few weeks now, but I cracked one giving my clay demo today and I have trimmed them all. It’s weird to type without them!)

Poor Bowers has been sick and hurt all week. Because of this, everything has been a bit wonky and off. I’ve been much more involved with the students, mostly because Bowers has been home or has been with the doctor. It’s given me a great opportunity to step up as a teacher, though, and become comfortable with trying to take control of situations and handle things. (It isn’t easy and it still feels weird, but I keep telling myself it’s okay and that this is part of the process). I am so glad I’m here to help Bowers out though, because she NEVER misses school, ever (today was her second day in the 8 years of her teaching that she has ever called in sick, and she only came in late. She didn’t even take a full day) and I know it’s stressing her out so hard to be gone. Today was a great day.

Mariam's progress.

Mariam’s progress.

So I’ve started to get really good at this clothes picking thing. For the most part, I’ve been staying in Covington, so I pack for five or so days at a time. I’ve got a week’s worth of clothes gathered up. That wasn’t even relevant.

So today my fourth period got several clay demos. It was tough because I felt boring and it took literally the entire class period to give all the demos I needed to… Bowers said I did great, but I’m not used to 50 minute studio time. College has spoiled me that way.

Wedging, ugh. The hardest part of teaching a ceramics unit. -__-

Wedging, ugh. The hardest part of teaching a ceramics unit. -__-

Sarah had this amazing sketch ready to show me today… I could tell she had taken it home and worked on it, which made me ecstatic. I also had an eighth grader tell me today that I needed to read the Fault in our Stars, by John Green. I told Kaitlyn I hadn’t read it and she said “OH! I will bring it in for you tomorrow! It is SO good!” Haha, loving the fact that I’m already borrowing books from my students. I’ll have to interrupt Atlas Shrugged so I can get Kaitlyn her book back before I leave at the end of February. I’m so excited.

Emily's pattern filled prisma.

Emily’s pattern filled prisma.

My fourth period also asked me today how our observation went yesterday. They were SO well behaved. Today at my seminar, I got my results back from my supervising teacher. I got a perfect score. How amazing is that? I was not expecting that in any way, but I am so glad it happened. I have to thank my kids and I cannot WAIT to tell them tomorrow.

McKenzie's gorgeous painting.

McKenzie’s gorgeous painting.

An interesting thought has been moving around in my head the past week or so. I wonder how many individuals confuse caring and having a relationship for your students as being a “friend” with your student. Bowers and I had a really long chat about that last week, and thinking that being friends with your kids and caring for your kids are the same thing really upset me for some reason. They are so different. I would not expect to go out and grab Pho with my students (Kelsey <3). But I do want to hear about how Payton’s race went last night at the swim meet, and I do want to know what Kennedy’s favorite actresses are. I do want to know that Ortega prefers one Chik Fil A over another (that freezer taste, eck) or that Zep loves stuffed nachos from Taco Bell. I want to hear about Libby’s volleyball tournaments and the status of Rachel’s scholarships to SCAD are. I DO want to know what happens in my kids lives, and I don’t want that to be interpreted as being desperate to receive love or trying too hard. I want to know those things because I care about them, and I want to learn them like the back of my hand. They give me beautiful things every day, through their art, their conversation, and their willingness to please. The least I can do is return all the love I can muster as a thank you. They are the reason I am here and want to teach at all. They are not my friends. They are my kids. My mentees, my confidantes, my laughter and my grounding. My life is going to revolve around them. That doesn’t stop when the last bell rings, or when I’m home cooking dinner or out with friends. Those kids possess your heart.

My doodles are evolving every day. My art making has increased ten-fold.

My doodles are evolving every day. My art making has increased ten-fold.

I just wanted to say that my lady dogs made state tonight. Kit, AB, Cedar, Berkeley… I am SO proud of y’all. I KNEW you would make it tonight, I had no shadow of a doubt, but y’all dropped two entire seconds. I am so impressed and proud of you.

Faitlin's new project -- that girl is kicking butt and taking names.

Faitlin’s new project — that girl is kicking butt and taking names.

For all my constant readers (I cannot believe I have those), thank you. Of course, I started this blog for my mom and my grandma, but to know other people find so much joy in it reassures me it will serve a grander purpose. I love knowing I am keeping track of this beautiful thing growing inside me, and I’ll be able to trace it back to the beginning.

Tonight, Kelsey said, “Every time I read your blog, I think to myself, I should be as happy as her.” It’s true. You should. Because this week has actually sucked. I lost my job, I’ve been stuffed to the gills with plans and showers and lessons and photo editing and LIFE, I am exhausted EVERY single day, rest or no rest, coffee isn’t cutting it, I am constantly struggling with feeling inadequate, I doubt myself at times and fear my stronger, firmer teacher voice… But that is still so tiny and insignificant to the magic that is happening in this classroom.

Chris Schulte has taught me to find beauty in everything, and Dumbledore said that everything is there if we can only remember to turn on the lights. We move every day through these masses of people, activities, assignments, conversations… several of us pass through them, contributing nothing and taking nothing, like ghosts. It is a lonely and tiring thing to do, to never love or risk or take a chance on something. I’m just an art teacher, but I know one thing: I have never found more power, courage and beauty in myself as I have on this journey. Follow your heart. Pay your own tuition. Take less hours if you need to. Drop out of school and move to Colorado, if you need to. Invest in something crazy, if you need to. DO IT, because time is too damn precious. Tapping your feet and hoping for the day you are ready to be brave will leave you disappointed. It’s today. It is RIGHT NOW. Because to assume there is a tomorrow waiting for you is selfish. To wait for your life to begin is robbing yourself of the life that is already happening. Encounters happen every time you pass someone, every conversation you have, every opportunity to speak or cry or laugh or BE. Take them. Take them and run.

A thank you to an amazing man who has changed this soul forever.

A thank you to an amazing man who has changed this soul forever.

I’m just a teacher, though. What do I know. #thisisthelife
Song of the blog:
SO IMPOSSIBLE // DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL

lumos

 

 

Day 8 – My first lesson went without catastrophe.

To be more than what you have to be, or to feel more, or to allow yourself to be open and to embrace being scared and afraid, or to embrace being happy and to relish in your failures and your successes. And to find a way to translate that into your everyday life, and into your classroom, and making those ideals relatable to your students.

Today was magic. My Homage lesson plan was a hit.

Today was magic. My Homage lesson plan was a hit.

Today was a whirlwind of emotions, but by some miracle, it did not include nerves. I was a bit jittery during planning, but once I picked up Professor Wilson and escorted her back to classroom, I felt relaxed and excited. I reminded myself to focus on the smallest parts of today and to cherish it. And after I decided this, I noticed the details: asking about Cedar’s weekend, checking in with Parker about his leg and MRI, learning that Camille loves Paramore… It became so easy to just melt into them, and Professor Wilson sat with the students. She’s so wonderful and easy to be around, it was almost as if she was one of us.

Hailey, Parker, Wes, Nick and Ivy looking over their new project (HEHE!) while we get the hot tea going.

Hailey, Parker, Wes, Nick and Ivy looking over their new project (HEHE!) while we get the hot tea going.

Here are the requirements for our assignment:

  • 2 cups (may be thrown or hand built)
  • 2 coasters
  • Box/vessel
  • This vessel must hold both cups (which can be stacked, side by side, or nested)
  • This vessel must have a lid that has a found object for a handle

I will also be looking for a connection between your cups, vessel, and individual. In your handout, I will provide prompts to help you explore various qualities and traits about your individual. These prompts are meant to help you make aesthetic decisions and to develop a theme throughout all parts of your “tea” set.

Faitlin, working with paint dripping. So gorgeous and eerie.

Faitlin, working with paint dripping. So gorgeous and eerie.

Should you be interested in our next assignment, try our brainstorming activity we did at the beginning of class today:

On a sheet of paper or in your visual journal, think of 5-7 people who have influenced or changed you. Write them down.

After thinking about our requirements and introduction, select 1 person from your list and answer at least five of the following questions:

  1. Who are you paying homage to?
  2. How does this person make you feel?
  3. If you could pick 2 colors to describe them, which would you choose?
  4. If this person was an animal, what would they be?
  5. List 3 qualities this person possesses that you either see in yourself or wish you had?
  6. How has this person changed the way you see the world?
  7. How did you meet, find, or come across this person?
Lindsey finished her Loki piece! This photograph doesn't do it justice -- I was just trying to prevent a 'prisma sheen'

Lindsey finished her Loki piece! This photograph doesn’t do it justice — I was just trying to prevent a ‘prisma sheen’

This morning, Kristy came in and said something that really made me happy, “Last night, I was telling my dad about how much I like having you in class.” Le grin. I also was thrilled to help Caroline come up with an AMAZING project. I will be posting progress pictures of it, because I think it’s going to be amazing. It’s mixed media, and revolves around this idea of “unfinished” because Caroline really dislikes having to continue to work on things after she’s “over it” to make it look finished. So we’re playing off that idea and including a LOT of color. It’s gonna be awesome!

Bowers doing a value/shading demo to our 8th graders today.

Bowers doing a value/shading demo to our 8th graders today.

Awesome watercolor. Skills and skeletons are pretty popular in the classroom right now.

Awesome watercolor. Skulls and skeletons are pretty popular in the classroom right now.

Panorama of this amazing classroom.

Panorama of this amazing classroom.

Overall, I’m feeling fantastic. Today was exciting and new and fun, but I think it was interesting and I am hoping the students are looking forward to it! I’m going to take a few photos of sketches and brainstorming tomorrow — Cullen had mentioned paying homage to the Mad Hatter — that could be so gorgeous.

Song of the blog:
TAKE IT FROM ME // THE WEEPIES

I survived. I flourished. I am tired. Today was an amazing day.

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.

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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.

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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:

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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