----- Original Message -----
To: TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group
Sent: 7/9/2005 10:01:53 AM
Subject: [teacherartexchange] Ooops, I got carried away!
I don't have much of a story yet because I haven't started teaching yet! Art has always been part of my life. When I was five, I was diagnosed with learning disabilities, including dyslexia (pretty mild). I recently found my evaluation from the psychiatrist who tested me. He said that I told him I wanted to be an artist and that I was already showing signs of anxiety and fear of failure which could affect me as I grew older. Well it did. I went to a special school for kindergarten where I retrained my brain to read correctly. I went into the Public school system from there and pushed myself as hard as I could. Grades became everything to me, and if i didn't get an A, I was crushed and felt like a loser. I'm still pretty much like that, unfortunately. Sometimes math was hard for me, and sometimes I had to work very hard to remember things, it seemed like i had to work harder than some others, and that frustrated me, but in art, it was different. In art class, I felt safe, comfortable. I was in my
element. I went to a magnet school for junior high, and art was everything. Balancing my art with the heavy schoolwork was a challenge, and by the time I was ready for high school, I opted against going to the magnet high school I had been accepted to. I was afraid of pushing myself so hard that I would lose my love for art. I still wonder what might have happened if I had gone to that performing arts school. No sense in wondering I suppose. I made a choice, and it has led me here.
I went to a regular high school, took AP art, pushed myself, formed a tight relationship with my teacher. In college, I was afraid of majoring in art because I didn't want to end up jobless. Instead, I majored in motion pictures with a second major in art photography. LOL! Wasn't much better...but I have to say that I learned so much, branched out, absorbed it all, and I LOVED my classes. It was very stressful at times. I can remember running from the film shack where I'd been editing for ten hours straight to the photo shack to spend six more hours in the darkroom. It was crazy, but I felt creative, inspired.
And then I graduated, and I lost it all. I accepted a job with a local film production company hoping I would learn the digital editing equipment they never taught me in school, hoping I'd become a famous editor one day. Instead I wound up at a job paying $6/hour with no benefits and a crazy boss who moved into the office and walked around in his towel while commenting on my breasts. I met people in the business who were asses, pompous and incredibly fake. I decided that maybe i wasn't cut out for the film industry. I was working as a waitress as well to make extra money, but I finally quit both jobs and accepted a job at my Uncle's law firm. For the past six years I have spent my day photocopying medical records, making coffee, changing light bulbs, ordering supplies and putting up with immoral money-hungry lawyers.
Yesterday was my last day, and in two weeks I start my first job as an art teacher in a new charter school. I'm terrified out of my mind, but I just turned thirty, and I feel like I've already wasted the past six years in an environment that stifled any creativity I had. I'm nervous but ready to get back into it, to remember what it feels like to feel inspired. I'm praying that teaching will be my calling. I've spent the last years without any feeling of pride or sense of reward. I've felt lifeless, and I'm hoping that this new career will give me life again. I fear change, I fear failure, but I have to start taking risks if I'm ever going to find fulfillment. This is why I'm here.
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