Looking Back: 2013-14

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School wrapped up on a Friday with Graduation like it always does.  It is always a bittersweet moment for me.  I love watching my students finish their grade school careers and seeing the excitement in their eyes as they move onto the next chapter of their lives.  But, it is sad to say good-bye.  This year was the toughest yet.  It was the first time in my career that I had several students for 3-4 years in my classes.  I had never done that before.  I had know those kids like I had know no others.

But, enough sad stuff.  Let’s look back at this year.  I think it was my best year yet at THS, and at being a teacher.  I learned a lot–not only about myself as a teacher, but also about where I want to go and how I want to get there.  And, the journey is just as important, if not more so, than the destination.

I met some great people along the way this year through an art teacher FB group and a splinter group for HS TAB teachers.  They have helped me tremendously.  I was really able to examine who I was as a teacher and how/what I was teaching through reading what others posted about.  I saw things I didn’t like and would not like in my classroom.  And, I saw fabulous things that I do want in my classroom.  I was forced to think and explore this year.  Did I always put my students first and have their best interest in mind?  Yes.  Was it always successful?  No, but sometimes you have to break a few dishes.

I learned so much about my teaching and what lights the fire inside of me as a teacher and what bores me to death.  I think if I am not passionate about what I am teaching, then the kids will pick up on that and they won’t want to invest in it.  I improved in my working with others.  I still have a long road, but I am further along than I thought and it’s a good thing.

I know I made the right decision when it came to switching my sculpture class to a ceramics class.  In the short months we focused solely on ceramics, students grew so much more than my sculpture students did over the course of 2-3 years.  The program is still a work in progress, but the path is bright and growing larger.  My numbers for beginning sculpture/ceramics almost tripled.  I am excited and scared of this at the same time.

Some of my favorite moments from this year:  The first HS art show.  It was hard and fun all wrapped into one.  I loved the relationships I created with some of my painting/drawing students.  The sculpture field trip to the Umlaf Sculpture Garden is one I will never forget.  My freshmen this year were so much fun.  I love that so many decided they wanted to be with me again next year.  I loved altered books and egg carton balance and mixed media collages.  I love that I saw 2 boys, boys that would probably get lost in the system, come to life when I put clay in their hands.  And, I love that they are taking ceramics next year (and hopefully for the rest of their hs careers.)  I was honored that the principals did recognize me and my efforts to name me November teacher of the month. I am proud of my monthly parent newsletter–I’ve been wanting to do this forever, and finally got it done.  I am proud of all that was accomplished this year.  I had a blast.

All in all, it was a great year.  But, as usual, I have already moved on and working on next year.  Stay tuned….it’s gonna be a good one!

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