Monday, February 21, 2011

Post 42 - Here's "the scoop", as my professor friend always says!... And, some yammering...

Blogging my evolution as an artistic art educator - An art-based experience...


This blog will continue to exist as my reflective "tool", for a very long time.

My Culminating Project, which is the typed paper that verbally and visually explains the theoretical reason for my blog and what I have learned, will exist as others have typically existed... in a drawer, and on loan to other universities.

[I am currently working on the Artist's Statement and Literature Review (theoretical stuff), to be turned in to my advisor by tonight. Then, I will complete the Goals and Activities section this weekend. Then, I will complete the Evidence and Reflection part during the next week and weekend. All of the paper must be finished, edited, corrected, printed, bound (X2), and turned in by the week of March 14 - 18. (I need to go outside to find as many four-leafed clovers as I can right now... LOL!)]


The "drawer thing" still bothers me though, because I have always felt that the accessibility of cyber space via my blog would allow me to share with more people. But, in the end, what I want to share, I can always include here. The whole theoretical basis doesn't have to be here, and it would probably bore most of you to death. Let's just say, it's not my favorite part to write either, and leave it at that. (Yes... procrastination IS my best friend right now.)


Over the next month, I will be finishing up my paper, and adding more to my blog. Here is where the fun stuff will be!... Photos of my students and their work, my work, my thoughts, your thoughts, etc... The good stuff!

Strange, but I just came to the realization last night that I had been reflecting publicly (via scanning and posting my pages in online galleries), at least primarily about my personal life, for a long time. Scrapbooking has been my constant artsy companion and outlet since I got married, and the source of part of my identity issues focus to my paper... (Artist vs Crafter... How can I be both?... Which is REAL art?... Etc...)


I started my reflection process with Creative Memories (completing my wedding album was my goal) and "crops" with my friend Lisa, whom I've known since we were both seven. (Yes, somebody can stand me for that long!) I progressed to "crops" at Archiver's, with my professor friend Ann, and the desire to be published as a goal. Published means my pages would be in scrapbooking magazines, several of which are defunct now... Yes, that was a "big deal"... Or, so I thought for a long while. It was validation... And, when you have always seen yourself as an artist, and are teaching art, you begin to question your authenticity, when you are making scrapbooking pages in your "free" time (no matter how creative) instead of "real art", or whatever constitutes that...

And, as I said already, I was a teacher during all this. And, I have to admit, not as good of a teacher as I wanted to be, or am now... by far. My friend Ann insisted, on a regular basis, that to teach high school students well, you had to "like" them... Yes, I can hear the groans. Who genuinely "likes" high school aged humans??... Anyone out there??... Insert cricket sound HERE...

Well, the key to my dilemma of "liking" my students, was the key to me becoming better at what I did for a living, and that living was far more important than being published in any scrapbooking magazine.

You have to like THEM, high schoolers that is. Yet, you do not have to like everything, or for that matter most things, they DO. And, after finally accepting, grudgingly, what my wise friend had to offer, I have received the best gift possible...

I love my job! I am better at it, and I finally know that I am good... My kids validate me. Not by saying how great I am or anything that "icky", but by doing better and caring more, and going farther with what has been set before them.

I challenge them. I expect a lot. I demand a lot. I want them to be problem solvers and "question posers", as Eisner suggests... And, sometimes they love me, and sometimes they hate me. But, they know I expect them to be the best they can possibly be. And, that is why I have the best job on the freakin' planet!

I get to watch the light bulbs light up!... Yes, sometimes it's barely enough light to "read by"!... But, sometimes, just sometimes, it is blinding. My kids really do surprise me. I really do learn as much from them, as I am hoping I am sharing with them... I love it when I catch them in "the zone". I long for that place...



So anyhow, at present, and since I have had experience with publicly displaying/sharing my reflections on life (Don't worry Lisa, I will still always scrapbook, no matter what!), I will continue to use and get better at using this blog as a reflection "tool" for my art and my teaching. The goal is to see the patterns, celebrate the successes, and bravely face and turn around the failures...

And, I hope you all will be here with me to share your thoughts, on whatever you wish to share your thoughts on, for a good long time to come...

You matter to me... Thank you for being here!


Safety, health, happiness, and peace... Pam

5 comments:

lisa caudill said...

We know that you've always been a true artist, scrapbooker or not! :) I've known this since we were little. I always admired you for your talent, because I never had it. It amazes me! YOU amaze me! :)

You are fantastic at what you do, whether the kids tell you that or not. You ignite a fire and a passion in them, and that's what it's about. Reaching the kids, and getting them to respond. Even if they don't realize it just yet, they will someday. When they grow up a little! (Yes, teen years are hard! I have teens, and I, unfortunately, remember what it was like to be a teen!)

You, my friend, are wonderful! Thanks for the blog! I enjoy hearing your thoughts, and I am free about sharing mine(Like it or not!), as you well know! :)

Have a great day, and I look forward to your other posts!

flavia said...

I really, really like the shape this blog is taking. I know I am suspect (since I gave you piles of suggestions), but in any event, it looks great. The images you included are amazing and invite reflection and insights. Keep up the good work! It is really exciting to see how an art educator/artist can successfully capture her reflection process.
Flavia

Ann said...

This entry shows how you are beginning to, as the Sanskrit message states, "Anuugacchati Pravaha" - "Go with the flow" in your teaching and with your art.

When I first met you, teaching seemed like a foreign land you were trying to negotiate and you encountered "language barriers" and strange behavior patterns of those wonderful adolescents. You weren't sure which path to take.... and at times fought every suggestion I made. There were times I know you questioned your decision to pursue teaching.... low pay, low appreciation, lack of understanding your students and the overall culture shock of just how COMPLEX teaching is when it is done professionally (after all, any one can parrot content)--- but professional teachers reflect, improvise, take risks and, as I've said, KNOW THEIR STUDENTS.... '

Through the years, you are now "going with the flow" in a much more giving way--not only to your students but also to your self, your family and your art. It is a blossoming and I'm enjoying the process.

jeannes said...

We know how creative you are. Over the years it has manifested through Halloween costumes, scrapbooking, Christmas gifting and more. This gift plus being able to teach it to others is marvelous.

In your blog I am looking for more discussion of your methods with the students. Is this blog to be more formal or informal information?

You do have the ability to write down your ideas of art education because you speak of it so well. Hang in there and it will flow.

Lisa said...

You made me cry! Good teachers present the material and their students learn it but great teachers inspire their students to incorporate the material into their lives so becomes part of them. Sounds to me like you're becoming a great teacher.