I haven't posted in this blog in over a year. Other areas of interest have taken up time in my life (I'm taking jazz guitar lessons for one) and reflecting on my teaching has taken a back seat. No, make that writing about my reflections. I always reflect on what it is I'm doing in the classroom, I just stopped writing about those reflections.
I'm going to try to write about my last year in teaching, reflecting on things I've learned, mistakes I've made, and successes I've had. When I started this blog, I began by posting reflections from an art class I took online. From there I began sharing the cool things the kids were doing in class. I at one time had a webpage but Facebook makes it much easier to share my kids work so I have been doing that for a few years now. The webpage is no more. There may still be broken links to it. I fix them when I find them.
My FB page ( https://www.facebook.com/MrTisArtSmart) is a place where students, parents, and friends can "friend" me and get updates and links to my Community page ( https://www.facebook.com/artmakeskidssmart/ ). If interested, just press "like" on the community page and you'll have access to all the photo albums. There you can see the many projects I've done in class. As I get my ideas from some of you, and Pinterest as well as other blogs, others deserve the credit for sharing their great ideas of art experiences to use in the classroom. Pinterest has been a life saver for me. I love how so many of you share your ideas with folks like me. There sure are a lot of talented teachers out there! ( https://www.pinterest.com/dhtriplett/ )
Moving my room next year
So after 5 years on the cart and 10 plus years in a small room, I'm getting a new room. I'll gain another 1/3 of my current classroom size so that's a plus. They are putting in two deep basin sinks and lots of shelving in my new room. I pack up the old art room stuff, they move it, and then I unpack it in my new room. I hope I like it. It will be my 28th year teaching and my first year in a portable. But I'll have my own bathroom! I like that part.
My last year in full time teaching
I turn 65 in March of 2017. Since my wife has been retired for over a year now, I plan to retire at the end of next year. What I hope to do from now until then is to reflect on my work experiences and post those reflections here.
A blog can serve many purposes. If people benefit what the things I share, that's a plus. But reflecting on one's work should be an activity in which all professionals engage. It's a healthy practice. It doesn't have to be written down but for many, that approach is best. Part of the reason I want to write about my last year is that I think it will help me deal with the emotions of leaving the teaching profession. This job has been a huge part of my life. It's Saturday and still I was up in my classroom for over 2 hours today removing work from the kiln and putting the next batch in. Yikes! I really am pushing it this year. School is over in 10 days!
I will miss working everyday I think. I love what I do. And I don't just teach art to kids. I have after-school guitar students I teach each week. I have an after-school chess club that's been meeting regularly for over 20 years. And for the past 5 years or more I have acted as the crossing guard adviser to our 5th grade crossing guards. Each morning and after school, I'm outside with the crossing guards helping to supervise and offering guidance. I love this part of my job.
I play guitar, sing lots of kids songs, and am a pretty good storyteller. I have dozens of puppets that I use on a somewhat regular basis. I love doing these things and teaching in an elementary school gives me many opportunities to exercise these passions.
And so I will be exiting a phase of my life that has blessed me beyond my dreams. I'll still be able to sub and likely will be asked to preform in a few assemblies. I have entertained in libraries and other schools, sharing my many songs and stories over the past many years. I can still do some of that.
But it's time to pass the baton. This is how I am looking at my upcoming retirement. It's the turn someone else to do what I've been lucky enough to do. I want to be emotionally ready to give up what has meant so much to me in my life. My career has given me far more than I could ever give it. And it's by God's grace that I am what I am today. I've had the best job in the world, perfectly suited for me. My job has allowed me to express myself in ways that truly reflect my philosophy of teaching and my love for kids. I know I will miss it.