Our first year in Clovis (2009) I taught art at a local elementary school…it was something that I kind of “fell” into, but is one of those things that you will always look back on as an amazing experience. I am sure you’re thinking, well, why are you telling me about this now?
Yesterday I subbed. I don’t do it often, maybe once or twice a month, but I do it to help out the school and visit the kids I taught art to the first year we lived here. Usually when I sub, I am in one classroom for the day and only get to visit with a small number of the students. Yesterday, I subbed for music. I had five different classes, 40 min. each, and I saw a lot of the kid’s I used to teach. The similar schedule of multiple classes a day, took me back to that year teaching art.
When we moved to Clovis I had no idea what I was going to do for a job. There aren’t really any interior design firms in the area and I didn’t think we would be here very long, so I was lost. I talked to one of the Air Force base organizations to try to find some direction, but was disheartened when he told me my best options were a position working at the jail, or child protective services. These I felt were definitely not a paths I was ready to explore. So, I decided to try substitute teaching. When I filled out the application I also saw an opening for Art EA (I didn’t know what that meant, but I thought I would just be assisting the art teacher), so check, I filled in that box too.
Anyway, long story short, in my interview I was told that I would be the art teacher…not just assisting (which freaked me out a little) but I got the job and loved it. It wasn’t perfect, there were definitely frustrating days. But most days I left exhausted with a smile on my face and paint on my clothes .
What I loved about it was the passion that the students had for art. They didn’t care what the project was, they were just excited to have an opportunity to create. What I love about going out to see them as a sub: They still love art, and I see, even now, that I was able to make difference for a year.
I am always greeted with a smile and hug, and a “Mrs. Chaffee, are you here to teach us art?” Or “Mrs. Chaffee, I wish you were still our art teacher.” It’s been a year and a half and they still remember. They still talk about projects we did together in class. Unfortunately, because of budget cuts this year they got rid of art in the local elementary schools. Every time I sub I try to encourage the kids. I try to tell them how important art is when they tell me they miss it and to keep working at it at home. I know for some of those children it’s their passion, like it is for many of us. Can you imagine not being able to do DIY projects anymore? To not have the time to spend being creative. For some kids that 45 minute class once a week was all the time they had to create.
I don’t want to get on a soapbox, but I woke up this morning still thinking about the students and my year as an art teacher. I feel it was a defining moment in my life. It helped me fall in love with art again, which led me to Pennsylvania for 4 months to study classical drawing and design at Barnstone Studios,which led me here to blogging about DIY and design and my passion creating blog designs.
What led you to blogging?