Progress doesn’t occur in a sedentary life. Becoming a shell of what once was, the sedentary life robs the soul of its passion & purpose. This is not a state I ever desire to find myself. I’d like to think I’m too strong of a person to ever become sedentary. However, life happens, kids happen, you’re asked to do the job of ten people, you get tired, you cut corners, you do less hoping to get the same results, or ride on what you’ve done a million times hoping autopilot is enough to get the job done.
So how do we keep from getting to that point? Planning for progress can keep you on track. What do you want to accomplish this year? Where do you see yourself in 5 yrs, 10 yrs, or 20 yrs? What steps do you need to take to reach those goals? Sometimes creative people aren’t comfortable with long range planning. We thrive on living in the moment & operating out of the stimulus of our environment. However, it is a necessary task to insure that we continue to move forward. What does that look like though?
For those of us in art education, we often fall into the trap of being only the art teacher & forsaking our artistic urges.
This might be remedied by a daily/weekly sketchbook challenge, dedication to creating one finished piece of art a month, entering one or more shows a year, or having a weekly/bi-weekly art night with friends. Taking private classes, workshops, or even enrolling in a collegiate studio class might be a worthwhile investment of your time & money to feed the artist within.
Progress for the art educator requires us looking outside our own art room. If the district you work for provides professional development opportunities, taking advantage of that PD experience will allow you to learn a new skill or a different way of teaching that skill. If nothing else, it will allow you time with fellow art teachers to share & discuss what is/isn’t working in your room. If professional development is not available, taking a day to visit another art educator’s classroom might provide time of reflection & enlightenment.
Working towards a master’s degree is not for the faint of heart, and may not be right for everyone.
However, it is something to consider as you continue on in your teaching. State & national conferences can also be a chance to reenergize your teaching &passion for the field. Yes, they can be expensive, but look to local & state art organizations to see if grants are available. If money is an issue, the internet is free. Find art blogs that challenge & inspire you. Look through Pinterest or Artsonia to see what other art teachers are creating, and see if they might be projects you’d like to incorporate into your classroom. There is no excuse in this global world we live in to think that you are all alone on some art education island somewhere. We need each other!
Don’t grow old & moldy!!!!!! Plan to grow. Plan to be more than you are now. You and your students deserve it!