I, like many people, have been reading old posts.
For the record: While I am gratefully overwhelmed by the massive amount of pageviews this past month (something I mainly attribute to art teachers using pinterest to prepare for a school year), I am slightly sad to see the emphasis on posts that are two and three years old! I hope it doesn't break your heart, pinterest art teachers, but I don't even have the art class jobs anymore. Eeek! So while I still stand by my "stool inspector," I'm not using that system anymore. What excites me is my new systems, new displays, and even my consortium's new standards for visual arts!
As I was perusing posts with pictures of my room (and boy was it UGLY my first year--the wall color, the TV shelf, the dangling lights--a fresh paint job, new TV, CORK WALLS, and colorful displays make such a difference!),
I stumbled upon the sweetest story:
Yesterday, I painted with 9 first grade students during the last period of the day. We had about 15 minutes between classes. It was just enough time for me and Mrs. Yang to set up 9 painting stations, fully equipped with water, paper towels, two paintbrushes, a 15x20 sheet of paper, and a palette with red, yellow, blue, and white paint.
Side note: My students were so excited to paint this week that one student brought paintbrushes from home! Waiting to come into the room in the hallway outside the classroom, another student commented "but she only has 7 paintbrushes!" I assured him that I had paintbrushes too, and every student would get a paintbrush, even if she didn't have enough for everyone in class...
Jumping forward to year five, yesterday was the first day of the second art classes of the year. I had one class of first grade, one class of third grade, and one class of fifth grade. The fifth graders--those students were first graders during my first year. First graders who were so excited to paint that they brought their own paint brushes! As for this year's first grade, amazingly it was another class of 9 and I was painting with them. It's really a beautiful thing!
The magic of mixing paint with six year olds.
And the third graders. They were the first class of the morning. I was lazy this year and didn't communicate to the classroom teachers about art smocks but these third graders brought them anyway. As they lined up at my door, a few students mentioned the new boy's art smock. "Yeah, it's nice!" I told them, glancing quickly at the plastic apron. It had pictures of art supplies in the pockets. Cute. It wasn't for another three or four minutes that I realized what they were talking about. It didn't have pictures of art supplies; he brought his own supplies to class! Pockets full of markers, scissors, and glue. His own artistic toolbelt!
It's been five years.
Some of the excitement is gone.
But for him, our relationship is just beginning.
It was our first real day of art-making, together. He is precious. He enthusiasm is inspiring. He's one of the reasons I love my job.