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I'd love you to share.....long.

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From: William Norton (alethiap_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed May 01 2002 - 18:22:25 PDT


After reading so many replys to "Why We are Art Teachers" I thought I would
add to the list of reasons! I come from a different perspective than most.
I have been teaching art for the last 31 years, with 29 years at Menomonie
High school.

If someone had told me 35 years ago you would be retiring as an Art teacher
soon and proud of it, I would have called them crazy and ready for "the
home". I never took an elective art class until I was a sophomore in
college. That was a Photography class in the summer. From this
experience, I wanted to be a professional photographer and took all the
photography classes I could. There were no Photography majors at the Univ.
of Minnesota. So I had to be an Art Major??? "Me, Draw and Paint, give me
a break"!!!!

Four years later, I graduated and looked for a professional photographrer's
job.
I found a job managing a studio called "Arthur's Portraiture" in Mpls. The
owner of the company had three other studios. About a month before
starting full time the company itself was closed up by the Federal Gov't.
The owner did not pay the dfereral deductions to the gov't and was caught!!
Needless to say I had no job, my dream career was out the window.

I found a way I could be a photgrapher and earn a Master's Degree and be
payed at the same time. I was an intern for a full year in Bloomington, MN
and also teach "Art" classes besides Photography. It was amazing to see
the creative juices begin to flow and the satisfaction I felt from
teaching!! I really could make a difference in young adults's lives!!!

Over the years the rewards just got better and better. Not so much
finiancial, but personal. If all I did was teach my students to be "little
artists" and go on to college in Art because of me, I would have got out of
this business a long time ago!!! Teaching Art is so much more! Because of
how and the way we teach we get to know students far more than most
teachers. Some of our students are really hurting for attention and a
positive reinforcement from an adult. Every term/semester I always seem to
be able to touch a special few to possibly make a difference or at least be
able to get help for those who need more than I can offer. Just this term,
I have an 18 year old girl who has run away from home and living with a
boy who is into some very dangerous stuff. Another who is failing because
she can't concentrate and break away from other students who don't care.
And another who comes from an abusive home and a boy friend who dominated
her in some very scary ways! Nothing surprises me any more!!! All of this
happens in little, rural Menomonie, WI. I applaud all of you teach in the
inner city, big city schools.

I am a "Dreamer". I never give up in my quest to offer more than expected.
I very seldom take "no" for an answer. I have had my "mountain top"
experiences, as well as my valleys. What keeps me going is kmowledge that
God is in charge and he would never give me more than I could handle!!

Finally, my wife of 31 years and I have a pottery and porcelain jewelry
business.
We have my wife's jewelry in several shops in the region and do about 8-10
art fairs and shows a year, with most of them in the summer. My pottery
business has been getting smaller and smaller because of time. It is an
outlet I need to recharge my batteries and offer fresh things to my
students.

Well, time to end this "book". Sorry about the length of this response.
Once I get going it is hard for me to stop.

Bill Norton

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