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Being An Art Teacher Starts With…

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From my own 15+ years of being an Art teacher in both public and private schools the one thing I hated most was feeling at times like I was herding cattle.  Lots of times all I had was 40 minutes with a class–before the next group was standing outside my door with a very antsy teacher ready for their lunch break.

You see, to be a successful Art teacher–and to actually have your students “learn” something–you got to be a queen at time management as well as people management.  You got to know how to predict the unpredictable, be flexible, know what battles are worth fighting, how to handle difficult situations with grace, and most especially–you got to have a sense of humor about the whole thing or you’re gonna fry like bacon.

And ask anyone, I ran my classrooms like a fine oiled machine.

My students always knew what was expected of them–and we worked as a team.  Everyone had their job–their responsibility–because, seriously, I wasn’t going to waste my time just teaching Art–I wanted these young hearts and minds to leave my classroom with real life experience on how to get along with one another productively and kindly–how to feel empowered and confidant as leaders–and most importantly how to be creative, problem solving individuals.

Stuff, that let’s be honest, can’t be measured in standardized tests–so many times fails to be a focus in the general classroom.

I spent part of the year teaching my students how to run the classroom, and the rest of the year handing it over to them.

It was my favorite part of teaching.  To see a group of young people work together–learn together–CREATE together–and coexist together peacefully (for the most part) in a community.

They’re our future. They need practice at stuff like this. Why can’t our government see this!?!?!

But what killed me–what drained me dry–was the lack of support, the lack of respect, and the lack of agreement that kids are NOT scores on a test.  That’s what drove an excellent teacher like myself out of the classroom.

Though, that’s not my point.

As I’ve been putting the final touches on IGNITE–my FEARLESS™ Painting Teacher Training Program that I will be announcing super soon–I’ve been thinking so much about Art.
Teaching Art.
Learning Art.
Being an Artist.
What it means to be an Art teacher/mentor/guide.

And the truth is teaching Art should never just be about teaching Art.  That’s a plain waste of time.

Art is this incredible vehicle that can take a person places–places within themselves they never knew existed.

And I’m not being all woo woo soft here.

I’m saying Art can actually empower people. I’ve seen it over and over–in my classroom with the kiddos–to grown adults in my workshops.

Art can lead you to healing–real healing–the kind that requires a bit of sweat and tears to it.
Not just a happy-go-lucky feeling that comes and goes.

Art can create innovative ideas that changes lives.
Seriously–changes lives.

I know this all as true–because I’ve seen it.
I’ve been a catalyst for it.

And you know why?

That’s the intention I teach with.
That’s what I want more than anything for my students.

BUT that’s what I want for myself.

Being an Art Teacher starts with what you want for yourself, my dear friends.

Not with what you want your students to do.

Save that for those who train monkeys.
Art is too precious to waste on just paint splatters and glitter.

IGNITE goes on sale Monday, January 23, 2012!

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