Category Archives: starting over

Coming to

roomNight of Meet the Teacher, and parents and higher ups to show. –Take a picture, someone told me, because the room will never look like this again.

This is a year like no other. It is the first time I have built a classroom ground up. I was given furniture and space. I was given technology. I was given students. And then there is the 96 boxes, and then there is the cabinet full of paints–many gallon cans and bottles, things I could not get rid of–clay in containers, etc.

old roomThe old room, within about as much space. Note door to go outside, this does not exist in the new room.

The old room had five more feet space to the left, a full sink and cabinets and a full bathroom. There was also a storage room shared with the other teacher. Behind me would have been at least 10 more feet and wall to wall bookcases.  In the to picture in the new room, I am standing at the sink area. This would be the end perimeter of the room.

The picture at the start of this, of course, covers the fact, that one garbage can served as a filing cabinet, still does. That the kiln room remained until just before break, a storage room for over 16 boxes of paper and sundries. In December with receipt of two big file drawers and 2 metal shelves, I was able to finally clear the kiln room. This means I can assemble the paper cutter on wheels, the printing press from Brazil and get the wheel out of the box. Storage with this stuff is still optional. But, as an art teacher, I have always had to be resourceful. Happily.

It is now the month of December and we are out for break. Preceding this period, while teaching 700+ students, I have been given 2 separate shipments of furniture. One dumped in the middle of my room, late one night which I had to rearrange things to make way. One being 150 pound crate, which I had to lift up and put under a piece of fabric and drag across the room for a temporary housing in the kiln room. Another night new adjustments for an extra shelf, which I dissembled from another part of school and dragged back to the room. Then another night with another shelf being dumped in the room at 5, just before I was ready to go home. A take it or leave it.

Right now the peripheral of the room is wall to wall stuff, but the student area is breezy. Tune in later. Did I tell you I have 2 sinks?




A Death in the Family


A student, his youngest brother and his father were lost to us last weekend. Three more children remain in serious condition, having also been involved in the car accident. It is with sadness, that we lose someone so young.

Away we go!

new construct composite

When I was hired they said, “you’re in the old wing, but we are beginning our new school. You can watch out of your window and see it being built. In a way they were only a little wrong, you would have had to see past the green nylon barrier that has become a standard over the chainlink fence.

Weeks are spent moving dirt to make way for the slab foundation, but also the walls. Wood is carefully laid out, and cutout for the windows just seem to be somewhat sidewalk type framework, but it is not, it is the poured wall which will be pulled up by crane and set into position. This is the second time I have seen this done, and it is amazing to watch.

I had seen the crane the day before, and that terrible spray smell that I remembered from my old school. At the end of the day, I took a walk outside and while some were sitting watching kids trapse along the bridge of the little playground, there it was the construction going on. The cranes lifting up the concrete wall

new construct men new construct swings

So after months of us sitting around waiting for the groundbreaking to begin, it all came together today as the walls began to rise on a beautiful clear day, the last day, before our Christmas break. Glad to see it begin, wish I could be there for the whole put together next week!

A New World

obstacle courseAs part of an assignment of the Element of Line, students create an obstacle course of yarn for the next class.

Finding a new world is always exciting and disconcerting. When I left my old school, I left a certain amount of security. I was know there and had formed relationships both with admin, students and other teachers. Here, I began all over, not really knowing anyone. Here, having only a vague idea of whom my students might be. Here, being redefined by new students and events. It is disconcerting, but always exciting, nevertheless.

I’d rather take the time to write a blog, than be on Facebook. Facebook often becomes a bunch of gossip, or cold. A place where people sort of interact, but repetitiously.  In school, every day is new, no day ever is duplicated, even when it has a familiar feel. In school, we are always moving towards the last day, even on the first day. There are so many variables, we never really know what detours upon the road we go. But even the detours force us to interact, to become more flexible, more interested, more.

My experience with my new school began in June, when I knew I needed to detour from the direction my path was going. I knew, as much as I loved my old school, I wanted smaller. I knew as used to the kids as I was, I wanted more teaching time with students. I knew as comfortable as I was, I was no longer comfortable being there.

As I cleaned out my room, which became an art disaster area during the last quarter, I began to respond to schools that advertised for teachers.  Most of the other teachers had finished up a week before. I got a call from one school, and the interview was not what I wanted. I got a another call at home, I responded that evening to the AP at home.

The interview took place two days later. It ended with the principal asking, “How soon can you give me an answer on taking this job?”