When I left my students last week for this extended sick leave, my 4th and 5th grade artists were in the middle of an idiom project. As we strive to integrate literature and language into the art room, each of these students chose a common American idiom which they have been illustrating...literally. Some of the most popular choices have included idioms such as "it's raining cats and dogs", "head in the clouds", and "butterflies in the stomach".
However, there was one particular idiom that caught my attention more than normal this year. Several of my artists chose to illustrate "get something off your chest". I've watched with great pleasure at my student's creativity in illustrating this idiom. I could totally relate to their literal interpretations; this is the idiom I would have chosen this year...no contest. And you can probably guess why.
Of these few illustrations, one that stood out in particular was that of someone frantically fighting a huge, hairy, fanged and clawing beast, as it fiercely hangs onto their chest. When I saw this depiction, I had to laugh, and thought, "By golly...I think that might be me." Of course, I didn't tell the artist that. That would've been a heavy concept to lay on a 10 year old.
Yes, for a long time I've felt like I had an evil creature attached to me...on my left breast, to be specific. Just like the subject of my student's illustration, I have wanted to fight and destroy it from the moment I found out it was there. So these many weeks knowing it was there...weeks that I had to live with it, sleep with it, eat with it, teach with it, and walk around with it have been long, unnerving, and, frankly, torturous, to say the least. I could not wait for the day when that alien creature was GONE!
As most of you know, last Wednesday was that day. My attacking beast has been vanquished and, I'm happy to say, I no longer feel like that monster is on my chest. It's been removed and destroyed.
My 5th grade artist will never know his illustration impacted me like that. I look forward to seeing his finished work of art and will try and post a pic of it here.
From now on when I say, "I need to get something off my chest," I expect it will mean something a little more to me than to most people. It's a great feeling to have won that beastly battle. Good riddance to my monster. May you never return!