It’s Been a Long Slog, but a Rainbow’s in View!

I often think about my blog. It seems like a lifetime ago that it was something I really enjoyed working on. It’s sad that it’s been months since I’ve posted anything. It’s even been months since I checked my site visit statistics. I was actually surprised when I checked this evening that I had had anyone viewing my blog, as I haven’t had any new posts since last year.

My new job this year has really zapped my energy level.  Not only have I been learning how to take care of everything that’s required in regards to state licensing and supervising employees, but I have some really challenging student behaviors to contend with, not to mention developing a whole new curriculum. I haven’t read a Teacher Tom post  or the Teaching for Artistic Behavior list serv (my two favorite things on the web) since Christmas. I’ve just been swamped and overwhelmed.

Between working a lot,  trying to keep my ravenous teenage sons fed, and keeping my house in a nominal state of order I just have not had the time to write, or the energy to share much. Then a few weeks ago I lost my camera, so I have no photos either! It’s a bummer because it was a nice camera, and the memory card had some great photos on it! Sadly there will be no photos with this post!

In any event, today was a really great day, and this week overall has been pretty good! It’s Friday evening and I’m not so wiped out that  all I can do is order a pizza and watch a movie before I collapse into bed!

One of my most difficult students left our program for another program. Monday was his last day. Monday one of my assistants called in sick, and we had to do some scrambling to find a substitute, which also added to a bit of the craziness. Señor Difficult knew he was leaving and had even less incentive than usual to do his best. Monday was an exhausting day. It was a sad day too. Despite the challenges he presented, I really liked Señor Difficult. Today we got a new student and he is a good listener, follows directions, and is very cheerful and smiley! Hallelujah!

Fridays are our art studio days, and my personal mantra is Friday Fun Day! All of my demos since January have related to sculpture. One of the things that students in past years have really loved is creating things from boxes. This year’s class has mostly ignored my box full of cardboard tubes and  boxes. Today I read the book Not A Box by Antoinette Portis which is about a bunny that has all kinds of imaginative ideas about what the box really is. When the kids got to the art studio almost all of them headed for the 3-d construction center to grab a box. They made some wonderful homes for their stuffed animals, Lego men, and dolls. One boy made a ferry boat. One girl made a castle. It was also the first time this year I’ve gotten out the glue gun. I’ve wanted the kids to use other kinds of attachments, because the glue gun though a quick easy way to attach things, is not really very permanent, long lasting glue.

This year my afternoon class which is larger and has the most challenging students, has had to help me not only put away things like scissors and glue, but get all supplies back on shelves, wash the tables, and sweep the floor as the art studio is not our exclusive space and we have to prepare it for the next group. And remember these are five and six year olds that are having to help me do this. It’s been a really challenging part of art studio day. Instead of taking the 15 minutes it’s supposed to, it’s taken  half an hour, and we’ve rarely had time to share what the kids have created. The sad part about that is that the gallery walk and sharing is one of the main things that inspires the student artists to come up with new ideas. The sharing opens up the doors to new possibilities and ways to use materials as students inspire each other. Today the kids zipped through the clean up and we had time for a gallery walk and sharing in the morning and the afternoon. I was so happy! The main reason I think we were able to zip through the clean up was because Señor Difficult was not there. It gives me a lot of optimism for Art Studio Fridays to come!

I hope I find my camera!  I hope the rest of the year is as great as today was! I’m optimistic, and hope to have at least a monthly posting until school is out for the summer!


About francifularts

I am an independent art educator. I had my first experience teaching ceramics when I was 24 and worked in the University for Youth program at the University of Denver. As an elementary school teacher I always found myself integrating the arts across the curriculum, which led to me working as an artist in the schools. In May of 2008 I began a master's program with Lesley University in their Creative Arts in Learning Program. It was a truly transformative and incredible experience which led me to decide to devote the rest of my teaching career to teaching art, and through the arts. About the same time that I completed my master's degree in January of 2011 I was hired to teach art in two different programs. I have never been happier in my work as a teacher, and I really appreciate the wonderful professors and cohort of fellow teachers I studied with at Lesley University. I also want to thank all of the wonderful arts educators that I have met online through the TAB/choice list serv for their thoughtful posts and insightful suggestions for teaching art!
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