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[teacherartexchange] My story - kind of long


From: Heather Hayes (heatherglenn77_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Jul 09 2005 - 23:06:03 PDT

I'm the baby of my family - my brother and sister are 10 and 8 years older
than me, respectively. (Mom says I was a "pleasant surprise" - my brother
used to tease that I was an accident) They are both extremely athletic,
having played soccer their entire lives with my dad being their coach. I
wasn't ever as into sports as they were, and when I was dragged to games (as
I was EVERY weekend), I'd spend the time drawing or making sculptures out
tree branches/flowers/whatever I could find from the woods near the soccer
fields. My parents never really supported my art - they never displayed it
or encouraged me to do more. I don't think they knew what to do with me
since I wasn't athletic.

In a way, I'm still surprised that I am an art teacher. I had a couple of
bad experiences as a child with art teachers making negative remarks to me,
and crushing me. (I was a *very* sensitive kid) In 7th grade I took art
and won the student of the year award, but the new teacher in 8th grade
destroyed that in her comments on our very 1st project of the year. She
upset me badly enough that I dropped art rather than face her again.

I tried again in high school, and found my home. I adored my art teacher,
and she became one of my biggest heros. I really think that she and one
other teacher were the reason that I didn't drop out. It wasn't that I was
a bad student, it's just that I hated school. I was insanely bored, and
even though I took honors and AP everything, I never felt challenged unless
I was in art class. There, I could finally get away from the mindless
busywork and do something that was meaningful to me. She tried her hardest
to get me to go to art school, but I knew my parents wouldn't hear of it.
Art to them was NOT of value. They wanted me to be a "professional." It
was never actually spoken to me, but I knew it through their actions. They
never once went to any of the local shows I had work in, but they could
drive 12 hours every weekend for my sister's soccer games. (no...I'm not
bitter at all...)

I was going to try to compromise by going into art therapy. I started off
being a psychology major with an art minor in college, but during my
freshman year we had to read a book called "Great Jobs for Psychology
Majors" and after reading that, I knew office environments weren't for me.
I switched to art education because I knew I wanted to work with kids and
art - and this seemed like the logical answer. My mother hated it, and
tried to get me to change my major at least once a week from then on,
because she was convinced I'd never get a job.

Well, I did. I taught at a horrible school in rural South Carolina for 2
years. Oh, the stories I have about that place...but that's a subject for a
different time. I loved teaching itself, though, and I only left because I
moved to Texas. Unfortunately, my timing stank, and I moved to the Austin
area right as they cut WAY back on the arts here. I wound up teaching
Spanish (which is amusing because I'm in no way fluent) for 2 years, and
hated it intensely. I finally landed an art job last year, but it was only
part time. This year, however, I'll be full time art again for the first
time in 3 years, and I couldn't be more elated. I really can't wait!

Heather H

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