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RE: [teacherartexchange] My Passion for Art

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From: KPRS2 (kprs2_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Jul 09 2005 - 15:48:48 PDT


As an army brat who moved every 22 months for the first 17 years of my life,
my existance, to me seemed chaotic and lonely. I kept journals and
sketchbooks as a way to record what I saw (particularly my father's car(s)
out my bedroom window(s)). On one particular move, to a base in Germany, my
6th grade art teacher took the class on bicycle trips to the local parks for
drawing. While we drew, she photographed us. For the first time in my life,
I saw myself through someone else's eyes (other than my parents')and kept
her photographs for years and years. I found when I moved, I became a
novelty in each new school for a moment, then blended into the walls, not to
be accepted by any 'group'. Drawing and writing became my solace, as was
getting good grades in school. So when it came time to make some choices for
college a couple of major things happened. One was that my folks didn't have
any money (Army pay is notoriously and embarrassingly low), and two, I had
attended 2 high schools with no references, no one to speak in my behalf. I
knew I wanted to be an art teacher from early on, art was my escape, and my
voice and I wanted other students to have that opportunity as well. I worked
for a year to get the first year's tuition and room and board together (And
I can still fold men's underwear to fit into those Hanes packages to prove
it!~my job at Woolworth's was to repair those packages that women ripped
up). I entered college as a math major (straight A's in math, and parents
who felt art was not a vocation)and left 3 years later with my art education
degree. I only had to submit my portfolio to a guidance counselor at college
and get a D in Calculus to get my major changed.

30 years later, I am teacher leader of the arts. I have gone from being the
solo art teacher to being one of 4. I used to teach all of the classes (we
now offer 13 different art classes), but specialize in certain areas now, AP
Art History, Puppetry, and Open Studio (Advanced Art). My speciality? The
loner kids, the squirrley ones, those that skip to the tune of a different
drummer. We find each other. We laugh. They make art, and they smile (even
if sometimes it is with pierced tongue).Lest you think those are my only
students, I also teach Gifted and Talented (which is across the curriculum)
and has the top 10% of each class in it. These are the movers and shakers of
the upcoming generation. They go to Brown, Princeton, Boston U, etc. We call
the class "gym for the mind", and they all crack me up. We don't do any
'art' per se, but a lot of thinking and creative problem solving. My point?
Teaching is MY art.

San D

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