This little video is in part why I teach art. It is odd because I haven’t thought about the part of having been bullied in high school basically since I started using facebook. It is strange how it helped me to realized that there are people from high school that loved me, and I really loved them. There are people from college who remember me as a dear friend that I have no idea who they even are. Which is okay. But in high school it was art that finally put me in a place of starting to find acceptance, and this feeling is one that has been a strong force in my choice to make and to teach art. In the end it is the people that mattered that populate my thoughts, and today I am surrounded by a wonderful amazing spectacular support network of friends and family that buoys me like nothing I have ever had before. So for the art therapy blog, one of the things that is the strongest motivator for me to teach art is reaching those kids that are not really succeeding elsewhere. Like M. who has a terrible speech impediment, is so shy, is in resource for reading and math, who is barely literate but put a piece of paper in front of him and WOW. Also those kids who are struggling in their home lives who come to me crying about something that has happened to them (ironically, I am seeing much more of this since I spent the 08-09 school year basically crying until I walked into school and crying the minute I left and sometimes bursting into tears in the middle of class – don’t criticize me for not being professional some things are out of our control) I tell them to find solace in something, making art, reading, doing well in school, sports, because it will be the thing that sustains them, gets them through. They listen, bringing in poignant art work, or sometimes writing songs and playing the guitar with the band teacher who shares their raw emotional stuff with me, I feel fortunate that she knows this will have meaning to me. One young woman, whose little brother was the source of infinite difficulties for me two years ago, but somehow I let it all go and now he is not a motivated student, but not disrupting my class every day and actually stepped in a couple times this year to tell kids that were to stop it, she won a local award for a painting she did, and then she won 3rd prize in the state contest. I told her, see it is not just me telling you you are good at this, and USE it, make it your thing that gets you into a good career that is rewarding and fun. She smiles shyly, but maybe she has heard me.
But it is not just about teaching art. I was really pleased when my music teacher friend Paulie told me that a former reading coach at my school, talked about me in a recent training. She told people about the word and picture project we developed to help children recall vocabulary. I like that my work within the district is being acknowledged and recognized. I feel proud.