The past two weeks since the new year has started have been a roller coaster. We had a bumpy re-entry school starting, fraught with uncertainty, staffing shortages, and a resurgence of Covid-19. We are also saying goodbye to our old building pre-demolition, which brought back such vivid and happy memories for me; during a time in my life where I was finding my stride as an Art teacher.
Yesterday, I went and toured the my Art room that was my previous home for ten years. It looked very different... abandoned, small, and surprising. Amidst the mess and rumble, I found some things. A fifteen year old photograph of myself lying on the floor. It was taken in my first year of teaching Art, when I was pregnant with twins, standing in front of a huge bins of art supplies. I looked happy (and perhaps a little unsure of myself!) I also was given a piece of mail from my principal (surprising!) and found a cute little ball of yarn to take back to my current Art room :)
I am an extremely sentimental person. This experience of returning to the old school was hard for me (and probably hard on everyone.) I am a saver of baby clothing, a squirreler of artifacts, and a fervent holder of traditions.
It has been challenging to come to terms with having traditions and events that have occurred each year come to a grinding halt; which has left me thinking of ways that I can pave new traditions in place of old ones, and also save hope for old traditions to someday reemerge.
It has been of great comfort and joy to see old Artist-in-Residence projects reappear from the old building and find a home at our new school building.
I have begun creating new traditions. I am in the process of building a mini-studio of pottery wheels in the classroom that I will be purchasing through a mini-grant though the home & school partnership. My goal is to have each of my students experience wheel throwing (in addition to hand building) throughout the school year.
I am continuing to configure the space outside of my art classroom and create art displays that bring happiness to the school community. This is definitely a time when we need it most.
Despite some continuing challenges and roadblocks, I feel that there are so many experiences and things to look forward to, and maybe a few old traditions that will eventually return in time.
I am looking forward to welcoming back my student teacher, "Miss G" back into the Art room for the winter/spring. I am also super excited to be able to attend NAEA in person this March in New York City! More to come in the spring :)