Thanks to the email course by the Art Class Curator, I've had some time this summer to reflect on how last year went, my teaching practice as well as how I want this year to go.
I'm a hands-on learner and whenever I have a large project where I need to "think big" I find the largest paper in my house, the sticky notes and start writing! These poster-like musings are legendary in our house and often take up entire walls. But I need to think stuff out and literally move my ideas around!
During this reflection process, I gave myself permission to be me and go with it. I did not put any "should's" or boundaries on this journey. It was very art therapy-like and was something I truly enjoyed. Part of that was not worrying necessarily what the finished product looked like. This was not art I was going to put in my living room or sell to someone--it is art for me to work through my thoughts and feelings.
Mediums I am drawn to (LOVE the pun!) when I'm thinking and planning are watercolors, markers and collage. I often find ripping stuff up and gluing it back together is very therapeutic! ;-)
I did a good bit of writing and as I distilled the writing down to transform it into an art piece, the big ideas stood out to me: positive energy, high standards, developing relationships with students, helping students find their SPARK! Those are all important to me and my teaching.
And lastly, we were asked to take a work of art and integrate our manifesto into it. I had a few ideas on what artwork I would choose: "The Great Wave" by Katsushika Hokusai and David Hockney's "A Bigger Splash" were what came to mind first.
I finally chose "Resurrection" by Alma Woodsey Thomas. There are so many reasons why. I absolutely love her work--the colors and pattern in her work just blows me away. She was an art teacher who started exhibiting later in life. As an art teacher and mom, I don't always have time for me and its nice to be reminded that there are seasons for everything in life and it is not too late for anything--go for it!
Parts of my manifesto mimic the one The Art Class Curator shared, but I've tweaked it and added to it to make it my own.
I BELIEVE in the power of ART
- I believe that experiencing art in all its facets: viewing, analyzing, discussing, sharing, and making is an OPPORTUNITY TO GROW & EXPRESS ONESELF.
- I believe that making art can be a TRANSFORMATIVE EXPERIENCE and has the power to teach us about ourselves, our feelings, and what is important to us, and is INTRAGREL TO OUR GROWTH AS HUMANS.
- I believe art helps us learn about cultures and environments beyond ourselves and experience the joys, pains & lives of those living in it.
- I believe art is for everyone & by everyone, across time & cultures, reveals the human experience and art BRIDGES OUR DIVIDES & helps us to communicate, understand & RISE TO OUR FULLEST HUMAN POTENTIAL.
- I believe that EVERYONE IS CREATIVE and art gives students the confidence and tools to develop their own personal creativity & find their SPARK to meet and exceed life’s future challenges.
- I believe in the power of STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS & strive to see my students as individuals and get to know them by creating an engaging student-focused classroom full of POSITIVE energy where we can EXPLORE, have FUN & BE SILLY.
- I believe an art room should be a center for HIGH STANDARDS where students feel SAFE and are encouraged to TAKE RISKS & where MISTAKES ARE OK and seen as building blocks of true learning.
Could it be more polished? Yep. But I have a food truck and art festival I'm going to and the day is beautiful.
I feel SO much more mentally prepared for school to start and I have focus for the year ahead. I've taken time to remember what is really important to me and my teaching.
Hopefully YOU take a few moments (or however long it takes you) to think about what YOUR focus is.