My Stint as the Art Teacher

May 14, 2019

Both my parents taught art, I never thought much about it, it was just part of my history. Then this winter I was lucky enough to be asked to fill in while the art teacher at our local high school went on maternity leave. I said okay, as I secretly wondered what I had gotten myself into - I've never taught school in my life, but honestly how hard could it be? (I can hear you teachers out there chuckling now.) It was hard, really hard. And it was rewarding, really rewarding. 

I had a couple things that boded well: the art rooms were well stocked and the kids had an incredibly dedicated, wonderful regular teacher. 

And a couple things that boded not so well: I don't do well talking in front of people and most of all I knew what I was like in high school. (Now I can hear those of you who knew me in high school chuckling.)

The first day was terrifying...facing each class as "The Sub" made me want to write an apology letter to every substitute teacher I had ever had in my not so awesome phase, which btw was ALL of high school for me. 

The days progressed. I had moments where I got to see kids have those "aha" moments about why art matters. I had moments where I got to teach a new technique, I had moments where I had to confess I couldn't draw that well either. I had the privilege of getting to see them create with abandon which is the ultimate inspiration. Sometimes I handed out candy, sometimes I raised my voice, sometimes I counted down the minutes to the last bell on a Friday afternoon, but I always felt thankful that I was having this experience. 

At the end of my gig the students had their own art show and I couldn't have been prouder of all their creations. But more than that I was just proud of them and humbled by the fact that I was able to spend the time I did with them. 

So what I've learned is that being a teacher is tough, many thanks and bucketloads of appreciation to everyone who does it. It just might be the most important job out there. Every teacher does it out of pure heart, we all know it's not the money.

I've also learned that being a student is tough, something we often forget as adults. These kids taught me so much and deserve my respect, which I readily offer.

I guess in the end I am just über grateful for my stint as the art teacher. My heart has grown, my perspective has shifted, I now understand a few more memes and I have met some of the most wonderful kids ever!! So a giant thank you to everyone for all of that!!

 

 

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all images © spencer mahaffey lightfoot 2020

watercolor mosaic artist paonia artist rainbow artist