Friday, April 8, 2016

Many Moons and Mentors...

For my last post, many moons ago, I shared about the importance of connecting, responding, presenting and creating, all components of the standards but also of a rich experience in the art classroom. Many of you know that I left the classroom in May. It coincided with my graduation from UF, and my youngest son's graduation from HS. Big changes. Big life changes. I had opportunities open up to me and decided to take the leap, still in art education and still teaching: mentoring art teachers with different entities, one being the University of Texas as a field supervisor for art education. As I see it, mentoring is part of what we do. We find mentors by responding to what these individuals have to say, by connecting to what they share, by remixing what they present and creating our own direction. Mentors are those who are there to say "You've got this!" and who help us down our respective winding paths.

As I find myself supporting others in what they do, it has caused me to reflect on those who have impacted my teaching practice so positively. My first principal, Nancy Bertin, is such a mentor: a passionate educator, a diplomat and a nurturer, she hired me and said "You've got this!" as she handed me the key to my first art classroom. Thank you, Nancy, for taking that leap! Then I reflect on Mrs. McAfee, Pre-K teacher extraordinaire for my boys, who in turn was a mentor to me. She didn't just teach our littles--she taught all of us about those magical moments no matter where we are or how old we are. Those experiences were the basis for my teaching practice in the art classroom: exploratory play, investigation, connections, communication, creating, collaboration and tactile, interdisciplinary learning. Thank you, Irene, for being an inspiration! And finally, a huge thank you to Dr. Craig Roland--I've shared this with you before, but it needs reiteration. The gentle nudges and wonderful conversations about art education over the years have provided great challenge and inspiration. I appreciate how you nurture -- it's a wonderful gift, and thank you for sharing that with me. I am honored to call you my friend. Thank you.

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