Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Always a Learner

Thank you to Stacey, Betsy, Dana, Tara, Beth, Anna, Kathleen & Deb for this amazing platform to write and share writing! What a wonderful community you've created! I'm honored to be part of it. Join us at Two Writing Teachers.

I love art! Drawing. Painting. Pottery. I love it all! In school, I never had an official art teacher. In the elementary grades, it was the classroom teacher having us do art projects and as I got older art just fell away. It was for the talented and that wasn't me. I was one of those people that complained, "Oh I can't draw!"

Life went on without any art instruction...until recently. A couple of years ago, I took an online art class with Kelly Rae Roberts. It was a mixed media class and, oh boy, was it fun! Online meant I didn't have to face anyone and I could work at my own pace. A friend took the class too. We compared notes. I painted and created some pieces that I am proud of!
 

A year later I signed up for an art course, online again, with Danny Gregory. Again, it was a powerful and fun and amazing experience, but this time I wanted to ask questions...I needed a teacher.

Last month during morning announcements, I heard the answer to my prayer. Our three amazing art teachers were offering an after school art club. I asked if I could join. Mr. A agreed and instructed me to fill out the application. I wish you could have seen how seriously I took that application. Once completed, I turned it in and I am a happy member of the art club. 


We started working with pastels. I'd never worked with pastels before...it's like finger painting with no water. Messy. Intimidating. The art teacher leading us showed us how to use the pastels. She gave us instructions. She set us free to begin.

In this moment, I realized how my students feel. I was nervous and excited. Worried that I didn't understand enough. Afraid that I'd make a mistake. I forgot some of her clear instructions. I had to ask classmates for help. She came over and showed me a technique to help. I felt strange and wondered, "wasn't I good enough?" Immediately, I realized she was showing me something to help me...to make me a better artist.
Week two with pastels was easier. I was able to relax into it. I even created shadows.
 

As teachers, we must remain learners. We must put ourselves in situations that challenge us...places where we don't feel comfortable. I joined art club to have fun and learn more about art. It turns out, art club may help me become a better English teacher. 

18 comments:

  1. Putting ourselves in places of discomfort when learning reminds us about the vulnerability that comes to our students when risk taking and learning...most especially in writing. Great analogy and reminder.

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  2. I love your adventurous spirit, Michelle! I think a flower bud must be most vulnerable right before it blossoms--and so are people who are taking risks. Thanks for reminding us for thinking about what we ask our students to do each day and reminding us of the power of doing it ourselves.

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  3. I love this slice! It's awesome that you put yourself in a place where not only will you learn a new skill, but also learn something about how some students must feel in the classroom every day. And can I add -- that mixed media picture is simply AMAZING!!! : )

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  4. I love how you are pursuing your passions and scaling new ground. Lovely art ... inspiring ...
    Kevin

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  5. This post is was so beautiful. Following your passion is a powerful thing to do. You're getting good too. Totally inspiring.

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  6. I love the artwork. This is absolutely so important as teachers. I have a post brewing for this month on how I had to relearn the piano at my new school, and what reflections I had on this as a teacher and a learner. Great thoughts to start the day. Thanks!

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  7. We are of the same spirit. My post for tomorrow is about my art class and remaining open as a learner. Art classes intimidate me while helping me to see myself as a teacher more clearly. I'm interested in the multi-media class. How do you find online art classes?

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  8. I love that you are in art club. It's on my list. I would like to learn how to draw.

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  9. Every year I try one or two new things to wipe out the "I can't . . ." past language. I really can't art, but I'm thinking I can find some part to try! It's hard but worthwhile to remember that anxiousness which is a minute-by-minute concern for many of our students!

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  10. Wow Michelle- I love this slice. Thanks for sharing about your creative journey. I had never heard of online art classes. And way to go joining the art club. It helps us so much as teachers to continue to also be learners. Thanks also for being brave and sharing some of your creations. I love them!

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  11. Art and play can bring so much to an adult life. I agree that teachers benefit from putting themselves in the position of students. I do it every Monday in my dance lessons. I know what it feels like when the learning doesn't stick. I still go back and dance.

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  12. Love your sense of accomplishment and reflection on your own teaching. As difficult as it is, we don't take too many risks in life that encourage us to grow. I wonder what I could try ... thanks for sharing and pushing my thinking!

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  13. I love it!! I am hoping to take another Sketchbook Skool class this summer. I love that you are finding joy learning more about art and drawing! I've been doodlingly the Psalms lately, creating adult coloring pages (sort of). Your students must enjoy jearing about your learning. How lucky they are to have a teacher who learns.

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  14. My art teacher in elementary school was the meanest teacher I ever had! She would humiliate students in front of the whole class. It is a wonder any of us found creative ability...just so you know...I didn't, unless you count sewing! You have done an amazing job. Add one more thing to your awesomeness!

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  15. These are beautiful, Michelle. I've worked with pastels before with my students, and find it so much fun to be messy! How wonderful that your colleagues offered the class, & that you took the leap!

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  16. Hooray for you, Michelle, for being brave and pursuing your passion! I love that you found such an important insight and shared it with us today.

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  17. This is so cool! I know how you feel about being nervous and being afraid of doing it wrong. I have gone to a couple paint nights with friends and I get so anxious! I always think it's going to be fun and then I get so overwhelmed with the directions and worried it's not going to look right that I can't even enjoy myself! So good for you for jumping in and doing it!

    (and by the way, you tried commenting on my blog and said it was password protected...I think I fixed it in case you're interested!)

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  18. Hi Michelle- I just loved your post today! I'm new to Slice of Life, and my good friend and co-worker Jennifer sent me to your blog. I can't wait to read more. I love how you joined the art club at your school to learn and do more art. What a great idea to be involved and also take time to do something else that you love. I agree so much as well that we still always need to be learners. I think that's why I love taking classes so much still. There is something so special about teaching, but also something equally as special as learning or doing something new! Have a great day!
    Ana

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