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Showing posts from August, 2012

When you just can't find the words

It might seem improbable that an English teacher would ever be at a loss for words.  But it happens more often than you might think.  When I'm so proud of my kiddos that I find myself repeating the same compliment over and over.  When I'm so nervous about an unpredictable event that I just speak in broken phrases with no apparent syntactical connection.  And when I'm so brokenhearted that I just don't know how to begin.

Since my spoken words are failing me right now, I'll try to write.  Sadly, I don't turn to prayer or scripture as easily as I should in these moments of silence.  Most often, I just sort of swim in my own thoughts for a while--pondering the "he said...she said...what if...then that..." possibilities a dozen more times.  But even in stunned silence, I still trust that I can find an opportunity to grow, so I am trying to turn to prayer more wholeheartedly tonight.  And ironically, I find that even my prayers are sort of lacking words ri…

For the win!

Have you heard the saying, "like a fish out of water"? It could easily be re-cast as "like a teacher out of his classroom." Even the most confident teacher seems to wither a bit when faced with speaking or performing in front of other professionals rather than their students.

So it would't have surprised me at all if the teachers at the Arts Impact summer institutes were awkward, uncomfortable, or rebellious.  But they weren't!  In all three institutes, I was not only impressed by the perseverance and open-mindedness of these teachers, I was encouraged.

It can be hard enough to adapt to new ways of teaching, then to expose your own vulnerability by participating in dance, theatre, and visual arts, and finally to create a group performance piece with a dozen other teachers that you hardly know?  This seems like an impossible challenge.  Yet time after time, I saw skilled and dedicated teachers rise to that challenge.  Mind you, before these institutes, many  …

Eye of the beholder

After a week of studying arts-in-education with dozens of educators who share my excitement for the arts, my return to reality has already been bit disappointing.  During our 5-day Arts Impact summer institute, I heard story after story about the power of the arts; I saw clips of students describing the confidence, creativity, and collaboration skills they gained through various exploration in the arts; and I began to forget that many people in our society still do not consider the arts a viable school subject...or career...or hobby.

Heartbreaking.  So far, that word is all that I can say in response to the doubt and negativity I have already experienced when discussing my amazing week with friends and colleagues.  I have tried twice to write out my thoughts, but so far nothing else has been able to elaborate on my feelings effectively.  Just "heartbreaking." As my eyes well up with inspired tears for the reality I find portrayed in a painting, dance, or song, my loved ones…