I'm just a stay-at-home mom with a degree and lots of experience in social
work. However, my passion was always art. So ten years ago when I realized
that our school district offered nothing in the way of elementary art, I
started my quest to get it into the curriculum. Little did I know that I
would eventually be hired to teach art at my children's school--not as a
certified teacher, but as a teacher's aid. Although I did not and could
not grade their art, I had all the other duties of a certified teacher:
20-25 kids per class, grades 1-5, two grades per afternoon (1 hour each) and
one hour of planning time per week . Because I was determined my kids (and
all their schoolmates) would get an art education, I've done the job for 4
years at $8.50 per hour.
There were many dark hours. I was very much an island by myself with no
support within the district. 140 kids passed through my classroom each week
on a budget of $200 per year. I tell you all this because you can see the
job would have been impossible without you. I learned so much from your
discussions--what colored pencils, scissors and paints were best, how to
start up a room when there were no supplies, how to arrange rooms, with whom
to become best friends (custodians!), and of course, millions of lesson
ideas. I shared little because I have been too timid to do so at the feet
of my art educator masters.
My youngest graduated from elementary school a few weeks ago and they asked
me to consolidate my room to an art cart. But I can't (the age, weary
factor) and I won't (low pay), and I suspect another will not step up to the
challenge. So although art education at that school fizzles away, I revel
in knowing I did the best job I could and that a lot of kids know a lot more
about art --through me--but because of you. You are the best!!!!!!!
So now I bid a fond farewell to all, hoping you'll forgive me for not paying
lessons back, but understanding how you (again) paid it forward.
Special thanks to Judy Decker who came through for me in very big ways.