Thursday, August 8, 2013

Art Teacher Forever

Next week my WBR ends and chemo begins. I still don't know what regimen I will receive, and part of me doesn't want to know. So, I though I'd just ignore all of that and focus on a couple of good things that have come my way this week. Accentuate the positive, eliminate the least for today.

As many of you know, I am an art teacher in beautiful Northwest Arkansas. I am blessed to live in a state that actually mandates elementary art education for grades 1-6, which makes an amazing difference in the lives of thousands of children. I am thankful and proud to be a part of this wonderful profession.

Since NWA is now home to one of the premier art museums in the USA, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, this is all even more impactful for these kids and their families.

However, due to this terminal diagnosis I have been dealt, my days of teaching art are very likely over. I will forever be an art teacher, though. The students, teachers, administrators, and other teaching professionals I work with and have met along the way have been a fabulous part of a very fabulous life. Can I say it again?...I am so thankful to be a part of this profession.

If you want to see a smidgen of what I do, then check out a great resource called "Artsonia". I really didn't begin using it until last year. If you Google me and Artsonia, you can see some of our projects from last year (remember - two schools: Walker and Shaw). For more on me and my kiddos, I also have a "Mrs. Brigman's Art Room" Facebook group. It's closed, but if you ask permission, I might let you in! Lot's of fun video and images there, too, and you get an idea of what goes on in some of my happy places. (I am not linking any of this here. I figure if you are interested enough, you can find it.)

So, where is the good news here? (other than it's good that I love my job.)

Well, art teachers have conferences, both state and national, and I am almost always a presenter at our state conference, which is not saying a whole lot. I do enjoy it, though. It's my small way of paying back a great state that takes care of their youngest artists. I do a bunch of extra planning, organizing, arranging for a sub, then I haul stuff in my van (usually with a few other art teachers in tow) to Little Rock in late October or so and present some fun hands-on activity, or a best practice discussion, or both. Always fun and rewarding. Arkansas art teachers are the best!

Back in the spring of this year, though, I actually submitted proposals to be a presenter at the National Art Ed Convention in March of 2014. This is a convention I have often attended, but never as a presenter. I have been fortunate to work in a district that makes this possible.

And, as perhaps you have guessed, my proposals for presenting two sessions were accepted this week. I received my congratulatory email from someone at NAEA, explaining that, and stroking my ego by telling me how many submissions there were and how few were accepted. It's in San Diego, which probably added to the submissions! 

So, I was excited to get some good "normal" news this week! It does seem bittersweet, though. I am honored and excited about presenting, but at the same time realize that it may not happen. Right now, I am going to savor the thought of presenting in San Diego next March. I will be praying that I will get this cancer under control and be beyond the chemo and chemical sickness and feel good enough to do this. I sure am not going to turn them down yet!!

And, if you are curious about the titles of my two sessions, they are:

--Street Art: What Happens When You Teach 200 5th Graders How to Sculpt with Tape

--Facebook Groups: The Secure and Easy Way to Show Off Your Art Program

Sound fascinating, don't they? I think so! 
And...why doesn't EVERYONE want to be an art teacher?? That's a question I've never understood.

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