Heading to San Diego for NAEA

26 03 2014

artsed MonaI am excited to attend another National Art Convention but this time as a presenter.  I have to admit I am not as relaxed as I was last year but a little stress keeps me on my toes.  I have been gathering photos and content for years and I thought no problem I can pull this together easy.  Not so.  I have almost 25 years of teaching art and not all of the years are documented with the digital era so I am relying on my last 10 years of documents to help me through.  My sessions speak to the heart of who I am so I am comfortable talking about it.   I am wading through years of photographs of lessons, club activities, and past students.  I am very lucky to have had a stable and positive career.  I had the same troubles as most art teachers do: teenagers who don’t behave, low art budgets, administration who just don’t get it, etc.  But I must say the majority of my career, I have always been able to overcome and steer the ship forward.

I love working with young people and making a positive impact on their immediate day and their futures.  As I read some posts on Facebook and other blogs, I read the tension so many teachers are feeling due to budgets, political pressures, common core, contracts, etc.  I am not immune to this either but I do focus on the students in my studio space.  I can control the environment.  My students deserve the best of me, even when I am not feeling the best.  I often say to myself “fake it, until I make it.”  This year has been incredibly busy.  I have students spread all over the place, participating in art contests, charity events, local showcases, art club activities, and of course all of my art courses.  I have spent almost every Saturday with a different group of students.  I don’t regret it, actually I enjoy it.  Having my students ask me to meet them at a little hole in the wall to have breakfast was so precious.  We gathered around a small table and we just enjoyed talking to each other.  It was great.  I was a running a little late (10 minutes), I thought they would be too, but I was wrong.  They sat waiting wondering what was keeping me.  I was just sleeping in a little too long.  Ha!  High school students waiting on me for breakfast still makes me smile a bit.

I invest a lot of time with my students and I believe that is the key.  They crave attention, appreciation, a place to belong.  I provide a time, place, and activity with others who enjoy the same thing.  We meet “fancy” people and the students get respect.  I wish more adults would create safe opportunities for teenagers to learn how to behave, grow, appreciate, and gain self-esteem.  It is very important, more important than a letter grade or a standardized test.  The experiences build young people to want to be someone and they realize they can do it.  When students realize all the possibilities, they align themselves to be successful in other areas in their life.

As educators we need to fuel what makes us feel balanced, happy, and inspired.  This trip to San Diego will place me among all the people who get what it’s like to be a dedicated art teacher and artist.  In my world they cannot be separated.  It is the Disneyland for art educators.  I hope I get the chance to meet many of you there.  If you cannot attend make sure you follow along online either on Facebook groups, Twitter, or ArtEd 2.0.arted2 dali




2 responses

26 03 2014

Have a wonderful time! How I wish I could attend one of these!

26 03 2014

We will be attending NAEA, so see you there! Our booth number is 738 and we will be giving away free Make-n-Take projects and a contest to win a $250.00 voucher to use on some of our products. Good luck with your presentation!

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