And Now For Something Completely Different?

“When I was in school…..”

“When I was in school, my parents would have NEVER come to Varney to jump on the teacher.”

“When I was in school, we were allowed to have recess all through elementary, kindergarten through 8th grade.”

“When I was in school, I never knew my grade until the report card came home.”

“When I was in school, even the “bad” kids weren’t THIS bad.”

“When I was in school, it was very, VERY, different.”

Going into Education as a profession was one of my best decisions by far. After floundering in the Electrical Engineering program at UK, taking a random Art class (you know, to balance out the science/math heavy course load) set me on a path that has been been rewarding and, at times, frustrating. Now in my 6th year as an Art teacher, I really can’t see myself in any other field and I’ve never really tried to see myself as anything but “Ms. G.”

After what I saw today, I’m becoming more willing to broaden my outlook.

While looking through my Facebook news feed, I came across a friend’s post defending teachers. Her post was in response to a video posted by a student/student’s parent of a teacher at a local school jumping on to her class. Being a teacher, I was immediately interested. I read her statement, agreed with her, and proceeded to read the comments. Among the comments was a link to the video itself.
Normally, I wouldn’t view it. If it’s not Star Wars/Doctor Who/Bradley recommended, I don’t watch it – mainly because I know I’ll get upset. Knowing this video had to be of a teacher I am friends with, I wanted to see what had caused all the fuss. All the teachers I worked with at that school are great, love their kiddos, and go above and beyond the call of duty – this teacher is no exception!
The video, really audio, of the teacher calling her students out for not working, is not the worse thing I’ve ever heard. Based on the comments, some people heard a woman, in their opinion, unjustly addressing her students for their poor scores. I heard a woman frustrated at her class and trying to find something, anything, to motivate them.

I’ve been there and I sympathize.

Part of me wants to rail against the world judging this woman. This woman I know works long hours, dedicates so much of her own time to helping kids, and, like many of us, tries to instill some sense of self-motivation in our students. I also recognize that my righteous indignation won’t matter to those too ignorant to see beyond the “no one talks to my baby that way” attitude that teachers see more often than not.

Teachers are, in fact, people. They have breaking points, frustrations, and bad days like everyone else. Except, unlike other people, we are expected not to have those days. If we have a bad day, we are somehow bad teachers/people. If you don’t believe teachers feel that way themselves when a day goes south, you are talking to the wrong teacher….or a teacher who has given everything only to be disheartened.

When I was in school….

I love my job. I love working with students and seeing them grow as artists and as people. Seeing a kiddo get excited about learning – glob! – nothing beats that. It’s amazing to watch and be a part of.

Daily I worry that I have not hit the right balance between understanding and stern. Some days are harder than others, and I have, at times, mentioned to students that their lack of effort is how they earn the grade they get, whether it’s an A or a F is all on them.

It’s hard to see students not care as much as you do. It is frustrating to say the least. Add on to that the threats to your career by angry kids/parents, the constant fear of having what you do in school twisted or taken out of context, and the fact that the standard you are held to as a teacher is so high, yet we are one of the least respected professions. It feels like you are always on the defensive and I can be a bit much.

All it takes is one word and that is it. Pitchforks out, set the torches alight, off with their head – let’s not ask the real question: why aren’t we concerned about students willfully bombing a class and not being shamed by the fact that they were called out on it?! Another question to address is why, if you felt the teacher was in the wrong (an opinion you are entitled to of course), why post this video on a social media site? Why not take it to the school, talk to the teacher and administration, and deal with the issue instead of posting it without the context of what brought it on – because, let’s be honest, something did. Why are we okay with a student taping a teacher when that student is obviously in class AND does not seem to be paying attention at all?

No wonder she is frustrated! She’s trying to strike some chord with them, and a student is more concerned with taping her with the obvious intention of hurting her career. Granted, I could be wrong about the intent , but posting the video to a social media site doesn’t really seem like the most legit way to deal with the situation if you didn’t want to embarrass/professionally harm the teacher in question.

This incident is just the latest of several that have made me worry about my choice of profession – something I never thought I’d be concerned about. I worry not because I think I made the wrong choice or because I think I’m a bad teacher. Completely the opposite! I KNOW teaching is what I should be doing. I KNOW that I’m good at what I do, but I’m always willing to learn and grow in my profession. I KNOW that I mess up, but, in my work and in my personal life, I can admit to, and learn, from my mistakes and move forward. I KNOW I’m exactly where I need to be, doing what I need to do.

I would just like to do my job to the best of my ability without constantly stepping on eggshells.

I can’t make people like me. I can’t force students to work. All I hope is that, at the end of the day, I make a positive impact on my students’ lives. That is it – that makes it all worth while and why, despite my fears, I will teach.
I will do my absolute best, and give it all I’ve got. I will do this because it is totally worth it for those kiddos that get something from it.

“You know, when I was in school, my teachers didn’t worry about the same things I have to.”

As a student, I am so thankful for that.

Having the “Want To” – Being Home

Sadly, I think when people say “I’m going home,” others look at them as if to say “how sad.”  Through popular media, going home has come to represent the last move of one who has failed – at a career, in a relationship, in life.  Yes, after going home, learning a valuable lesson about what is important in their lives, these poor, broken, people are strong enough to leave again.  They go out into to the world and make the difference they were always meant to do. End scene.

That’s not why I wanted to come home. More

Staycation 2013: Natural Bridge


Balanced Rock
Natural Bridge Carved Face Natural Bridge Outlook Point Troll Under the Bridge Bridge Partners

These are some of our photos from today’s excursion to Natural Bridge. It’s only an hour away from Lexington and totally worth the trip. We made sure to inhale an entire pizza from Miguel’s to complete the experience. I’m worn out but will probably post more tomorrow.

Image

Birthday Brewery and Hope

Strange title but, let’s face it, my mind and the paths it takes when thinking are a little…well, strange.

Adam planned Dez’s b-day spectacular and it included a tour of West 6th Brewery in Lexington, KY.  Spending time with Dez and Adam, Brad and Sara, is always great but this part of the plan – the tour – was an unexpectedly fantastic thing.

After driving through the craziest St. Paddy’s day traffic, we finally arrived at the West 6th Brewery.  Once parked, it became clear to me that this place wasn’t what I had thought it would be: it was far more interesting, and wonderful, than I had hoped for.  The beer was great, seeing how the beer was made was interesting, but it was the people who worked there and their sense of community that really made the visit worth while.

Outside of West 6th

Outside of West 6th

More

Free Art Friday and Moore (See what I did there?)

Free Art Friday – the name describes the even perfectly.  As you may have noticed from Sara’s previous posts, the EE girls (and Brad) decided to participate.   The basic premise of Free Art Friday was to create artworks, display them around Lexington, and let anyone take them.  That’s right, your read correctly – artworks free for the taking!  It was a good, albeit rainy, day.  Fortunately for me I had the help of good friends (Joe and Jp) and the prospect of a sweet Art show by my friend Stevie Moore that night to get me through the 4 hour drive to Lexington and the process of putting up my work. More

Preview: Free Art Friday — Lexington, KY Edition

Attention Lexingtonians! The Errant Easel bloggers will be participating in Free Art Friday tomorrow, Friday July 13 right here in Lexington, KY. Along with other creators in town, we will post copies of our works (for free!) Friday morning in various locations.

Important notes:

These are original works that we want people to take home and enjoy or gift to those who would.

We will post the location of our work here on the Easel and at Facebook HQ for the event.

Check the Facebook page for the location of other free works submitted for your consideration.

If you have works you would like to send out into the world, join the FB group and spread the word.

If you take art, let us hear what you think on Facebook, Twitter, or here on the Easel.

Staci’s work will appear in the UK/South Limestone area, Dez will share her work at the Richmond Road Starbucks, and I will canvas the Woodland, Euclid and Rose Street areas. Hope you get some free art tomorrow!

A little jumpstart couldn’t hurt could it? An inventory of creativity as it now stands

If you know me, you probably know I’ve struggled with finishing the final requirement to complete my Master in Public Health. However, with an uncharacteristic flourish of initiative, I made the arrangements to participate in a Dissertation/Thesis Boot Camp sponsored by the Graduate School. Last week I number crunched for eight hours a day in a barren little dorm room at Patterson Hall. Yes, I am claiming that as a vacation. This week I am writing 8 to noon and working 1-9pm at the lab. I’m cheating a little bit as Monday was Memorial Day, but four twelve hour days must count for something, right?

Last week went so swimmingly and I was rather proud of myself with the progress I made stitching together my data set and the early attempts to analyze it. I merged datasets, recoded variables, negated skip patterns in the survey, and even began to characterize my sample population. And it was good. The holiday weekend came and went with guest appearances by Adventurer, Conqueror, King, Draw Something, and steaks. Tuesday came and I was ready for it: continuous and categorical variables of interest were estimated and luminous demographic tables were erected. My head buzzed with the tangle of influences on my dependent variable I was beginning to delineate. And it was good.

And then this morning happened. And it was fair at best. Our organic and rather arbitrary black fluffy alarm clock went off at an unspeakable hour and refused to be placated with food, treats, pets, hugs, entreaties, bargains, pleas and barring all of that a good deal of hateful shushing. I’m sitting at Boot Camp (if any military friends care to comment on the oxymoron, you are well justified) now and really can not get started on task at hand. So I am squeezing words onto this blog until the runaway reaction of word fusion takes off and I can actually focus on the real reason I am sitting in a dorm room with nothing but a desk, lofted bed, and window to keep me company when many adults my age are typically at work receiving compensation for their time.

I have really missed posting on this blog. No excuses, just haven’t made time for creative endeavors when I’ve had it to devote until recently. There have been a few highlights but mostly there have been a few day-to-day discoveries I didn’t realize would be so creative. In the main event, my friend Grace and I recently took a “Introduction to Home Brewing” class at the Lexington Beerworks. The information was very accessible and the class covered the basic Brew Day routine while maintaining a largely conversational air of informality. I highly recommend taking a class if you have ever been interested in home brew and there is one coming up on June 2. I am also lucky that Grace’s husband, a beer hobbiest, will let us use his equipment and be on hand for the “oh, hell” moments. We are going to start our first batch this weekend using a “summer ale” kit we will tweak with the addition of orange peel.  Our batch will debut around Independence Day if all goes well. Fingers crossed!

In day-to-day operations, I have found myself completely addicted to Draw Something, a free app where you cooperatively send your friends drawings back and forth to guess the prompt word. I never realized how much fun it could be to tailor a pictorial message to the recipient. It’s comforting that sketches are digital and go away, but it’s leading me to want to sketch things out more often in real life. It’s also really neat to see the way your friends choose to approach a drawing or represent things to you. My only criticism of the free app is that the words are limited and you soon start drawing the same things over and over. However, the full version is cheap and I’m told there are more words and colors to use. If I ever bother to upgrade, I’ll let you know.

I’ve been playing a really fun pen and paper RPG system called Adventurer, Conquerer, King run by my friend Sam. I’ve played in a few D&D 3.5 and higher edition games and one D20 modern campaign but really have never explored other systems. It was an adjustment at first to declare actions prior to rolling for initiative and to hinge on a truly narrative based style of playing but I think it’s kind of the perfect system for me because of the narrative and the necessity of table talk to get things done. Last week we rescued an ankylosaurus and stopped an evil sorcerer from raising his army through ritual sacrifice. Sam runs a great game and everyone who plays does their character justice, something I could do better than I have been so far. Any tips for a Ruinguard from inside the Mandate?

So I maintain that there is creativity present in my life. It’s just used sparingly and not in the form I expect when I get up in the morning. Like what my capstone data tells me in direct contradiction to my hypothesis, lol. But I guess many good things probably come that way, though. Maybe it’s just part of learning to love the incidental discoveries in addition to making good things happen. I think that’s what I’m going with today and hope it helps you out, too, if you need it. I hope you’ll wish me luck as I return back to the world of statistical software packages and data analysis. I should be back soon to report on upcoming challenges for D3Z, Staci, and myself here on the Easel.

Until then,

cryptotox

Previous Older Entries