Friday, January 07, 2011

800th Post

Yeah, that's f'real. 800 posts in 3 1/2 years.

I started this blog April 2007, aptly titled "Identity Crisis," since I had so many interests at the time (still do) and was trying to figure out what I wanted to do that would make me happiest. Since that time, I graduated and got a job teaching art, did a lot of running (and by consequence a lot of thinking) and had a baby.

Today I had a student tell me, point-blank, that my class was not that important.
The scary part about that? I know its true.
There are certainly a half dozen things off the top of my head (politics, social justice, religion, math money, family issues, the obesity epidemic...), that I could list that are far more important and vital to a teenager (or anyone for that matter) than ART, with reference to my drawing, painting, or sculpting classes.

Don't get me wrong. I love art. Always have, always will. The act of creating something that didn't exist before is a sense of wonder, pride, and satisfaction I have only ever felt after hitting a PR in a race.

Today I came to the conclusion that I will probably not be satisfied teaching high schoolers perspective/shading/color mixing for the rest of my life. But that's not the point in art. Not really, anyway. The (Performing, Fine) Arts can teach other lessons that most other subjects just dabble in:

  1. They are languages that all people speak that cut across racial, cultural, social, educational, and economic barriers and enhance cultural appreciation and awareness.
  2. They integrate body, mind, and spirit.
  3. They provide opportunities for self-expression, bringing the inner world into the outer world of concrete reality.
  4. They are an opportunity to experience processes from beginning to end.
  5. They develop both independence and collaboration.
  6. They provide immediate feedback and opportunities for reflection.
  7. They make it possible to use personal strengths in meaningful ways and to bridge into understanding sometimes difficult abstractions through these strengths.
  8. They merge the learning of process and content.
  9. They improve academic achievement -- enhancing test scores, attitudes, social skills, critical and creative thinking.
  10. They exercise and develop higher order thinking skills including analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and "problem-finding."
  11. They provide the means for every student to learn.

I will forever be grateful for the job that I have. I love the subject I teach and I love the students I teach. I wouldn't trade my current job for anything. But 5, 10 years down the road... I just don't see myself doing the same thing.

So I wouldn't say I'm going through another Identity Crisis so much as an Identity Re-evaluation.
2011 is proving to be an interesting year.

In other news... have you started watching The Biggest Loser?? If you haven't, the first episode only aired this week, so you should really go watch it. That show just gets better and better every season. It inspires me in more ways than I can say... mostly little things like realizing that if a 300 pound guy can run a marathon, then heck yeah so can I! and switching from eating ice cream/cookies while TV-ing (terrible habit, guilty as charged!) to noshing on healthier things that take awhile to eat anyway, like carrots and oranges.

You never realize how long it takes to eat a handful of carrots or peel an orange until you have a baby and suddenly if it can't be nuked in 5 minutes or less and shoveled into my mouth in less time than it took to cook, I probably won't get eaten. True story. That's why I am in love with Healthy Choice and Lean Pockets.

And on another completely unrelated tangent for those of you getting frustrated with all this writing and not enough pictures to go with it, here is Baby D who refuses pacifiers or (for the most part) finger/thumb sucking, and I swear this is how he falls asleep pretty much every nap/night: sucking madly (and usually loudly) on his left sleeve, using his right hand to keep it in place. I love my strange little boy.


Rachael said...

SO cute! Does he end up with arm hickeys from this habit?

I feel sad for your student who said art class is not important. My art classes were the ones that I remember the most and where I had the most meaningful interactions with my classmates and teachers. I understand wanting to move on from it eventually, but I hope you know that you do make a huge difference in your students lives. I understand moving on in a few years, but I think your job is awesome and I'm glad you are willing to do it.

Meggs said...

I'm with ya on the Biggest Loser. So inspiring!

anna. said...

so cute so cute. love the new layout too ( :

A Little Sass said...

I love your list! Can I use it in my art classes? We are so lucky to have you!

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