When I first became a teacher, I had a rough schedule. Each day, I taught a high school art appreciation class. After first block, I travelled to either the kindergarten building or another, farther away elementary school. I had K-2 art classes, lunch duties and since it was my first year, I had to prep everything from scratch.
The high school was equipped with college level text books which weren't practical as there was only about 25 for two classes of 28 to share. So most of the information had to be delivered through lecture. At the time, I was only 23, and some of my students were 18 and they could smell my inexperience and nerves as I stumbled around mispronouncing Italian artists' names and fumbling to answer random questions designed to disarm and confuse me.
There were many things to prepare as I had none of the resources created by the art teacher before me.
There were no slide shows, tests, study guides or anything. I had to cobble together the daily instruction based on my college experience and resources. I also had to turn in copy requests well in advance to a building I had vacated by 9:20 each day.
I tried to make the most of it, by arriving to the high school by 6:30 most mornings (class started at 7:20). That gave me time to look over my notes for the day and make sure that everything was in order. I also stayed until 5:00 each evening so that I could prep supplies for buildings that I was only in every other day. I shared all three of my art rooms so nothing could be left out and everything had to be put away for the other teachers to use when they had classes in that space.
I was so excited to be a teacher, that I didn't realize how hard my first job truly was. I was grateful for a wonderful mentor who supported me and helped me along the way.
When my position changed and year and a half later, I was relieved. Only two buildings, MORE kindergarten classes and less sharing rooms. Third grade was added to my plate, but I didn't have to go to the high school for first block anymore.
I am still really grateful for the taste of teaching high school. It was hard. It was challenging, but it was really good.
I had made relationships with some of my high school students that still exist to this day.
Some of the students that I taught were 15 or 16 at the time, are now in their mid-twenties and participate in my book club, I see them on Facebook posting about the same concerts I am heading to, a few of them are teachers in my school district and they are wonderful adults who still have fond memories of my class. One of my former students just graduated law school and she asked ME to write her a letter of recommendation for the BAR exam.
At a recent PD day at school, I caught up with one of those former students. We were both in the stop motion class, which was taught by her husband. How funny. And so ironic.
I had led my high school art appreciation class through a stop motion project when she was a sophomore or jr. and she told me that she has wonderful memories from that class and that project. I have fond memories of that project too. The students were engaged, working in small groups to make short films with iSight cameras on giant mac computers using modeling clay and wire and construction paper sets they had designed themselves.
This is my 'slice of life' blog.
My Art Teacher Blog:
This Little Class of Mine