making a difference
this past week scholastic press reached out to me and asked for help gathering stories and quotes from former students
about how art and art classes have made a difference in their lives. i reached out to a handful of students through
facebook and asked if they’d be willing to share. i’ve had several former students reply, but one stood out and made me think about how as a teacher i often have no idea of the impact, good or bad, that my contact in the classroom has for students.
Juliette sent a link to her blog post of five years ago, that really touched me. “Tonight I got to meet my all-time favorite teacher, Mr. Rees, for the first time in ages. He was my art teacher three years in a row in high school. Not only did he teach me a lot about art, he taught me to believe in myself, and he showed me that there are sweet, sensitive husbands out there (I could just tell he was crazy about his wife and I loved that). Mr. Rees truly cared about each individual student. He made us each feel important. Once, when my art was supposed to be accepted in a high school art show at a local museum, and at the last minute, due to an error, the museum didn’t hang my painting, Mr. Rees noticed me in near tears and ended up hanging my painting in a hall in the high school.
He had a unique approach to teaching. He’s the one who got me interested in figure drawing. He invited his students to his home for Japanese food, took us (the art club) camping at Zion National Park, and even cared enough to come to my wedding! He was fun, quirky and caring. The best teacher anyone could ask for. I’m thankful for amazing teachers. In my mind, the good ones are pretty much rock stars. ” http://juliettesartblog.blogspot.com/2012/10/my-hero.html
i then thought of a former student who came back to visit me after graduating. he came during a very busy day were i was juggling teaching hosting a guest artist who was conducting an all day sculpture workshop. i stopped and chatted, but wasn’t as attentive as i would have like to have been. i found out later that evening, that this student had taken his own life and that i was the last person he had talked to. i still think through my last moments with this student and i find myself mentally editing the last time i saw him and replaying what i would have done differently. again, rarely are we aware of our interactions and their affects.
i’m now wondering what kind of splash that this new forum (i.e. this blog/vlog/website) might have. i’m hoping that you’ll post comments and start a chain of conversations about this ‘new experiment’ of might, this website. please post your thoughts, stories and ideas related to this topic!