This is your life; are you who you wanna be?

This summer has blasted by. I can’t believe it’s already the end of July. Wanna see my classroom? 😉

 

My first time seeing my room.

My first time seeing my room.

So… Big things are in the works. I’ve dissected my room and have cleaned it (mostly from top to bottom).  The teacher before me was apparently a legend. For a while I feared I may have big shoes to fill, but then I decided today that I don’t want to fill anyone’s shoes. I would like to make my own footprints, please and thank you.

About a week's worth of work, and three other sets of helping hands. Still not finished, but so close.

About a week’s worth of work, and three other sets of helping hands. Still not finished, but so close.

Open House is Wednesday night. How is my career already here?

And of course, my classroom wouldn't be complete without a bit of Bowers.

And of course, my classroom wouldn’t be complete without a bit of Bowers.

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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 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