I took many pictures of student work, of bulletin boards, of (fully clothed) life drawing with students and bicycle drawing sessions, all with great intentions of writing about art at the early childhood center and projects at the main campus, with my 1st-5th graders. My fifth and sixth year in China. But 2013 has come and gone and I didn’t post a single entry.
Because 2013 has not been a year about elementary art. That has still been a part of my life, but also being a youth group leader, a high school art history teacher, a WASC (accreditation) visiting committee member for a school in Japan, the WASC coordinator at our own school in China, head of Fine Arts, and taking three trips to the Thai-Burma border.
As I start 2014, I am starting my last semester as an elementary art teacher. I always thought I’d teach for 3, maybe 5 years, and then I’d have children. Well no marriage, no biological kids, but after 6 years as an art teacher at an international school in China, I’m moving to the Thai-Burma border and, as I joke with my friends, I’m becoming a stay-at-home mom. I'm not dumping the teacher role entirely, as I’ll likely teach English at the local Thai school, maybe a day or two a week, but my primary responsibilities will be with Blessed Homes.
Art will still be a part of my life, and my interactions with children. It’s a venue I love when it comes to building relationships and goes deep into my soul (maybe because I have no skills when it comes to football/soccer—the other universal language of kids).
In my first two trips to the Thai-Burma border, I brought lots of art supplies and even attacked the walls at two of the homes with paint and handprint murals. This trip has been more tame, a shorter trip and more about joining in their Christmas festivities. And transitioning my life. Because my heart has already moved here, and now my body is just waiting to catch up. To be here with my kids.
So I go back to China this weekend and start my last semester as an elementary art teacher. Maybe forever. I don’t know if elementary art teacher will ever again follow my name, be printed on a business card. But what I do know is I will still be living and loving and learning abroad, and art will be along for the journey.
A new phase of art.abroad