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The Teaching Artist

August 9, 2016

As a student, do you remember wondering what the life of your teacher was like? Did you ever look up to them in envy because they seemed to have all their "stuff" together and always seemed to have all the answers? Didn't they make it look like life was so easy for them? I remember thinking this way as a student. Now as a teacher, I have been asked these things by my students in some form or another. I've been given compliments on my content knowledge, my outfits, my organization, my "commanding" demeanor, etc. When receiving such comments I never quite know how to respond and probably just say something sarcastic as a defense mechanism and I can't help but to think "if they only knew." I cannot speak for other teachers out there because my experiences are very unique to my own biology, but I do know that we are so much more than what often meets the eye. I've always been a relatively private person, and by that I mean incapable of effectively communicating my feelings verbally lol, which is why I began to use my artwork as a way to communicate the things I couldn't otherwise. My "flaws" as a human are not exactly a secret, considering you can see my work and read my artist statement anytime on my website, but I know they are something you probably would not notice about me right away otherwise. I have grown more comfortable sharing my experiences with anxiety, ocd, and panic disorders over the years and I've certainly gone through great lengths to control it. Yet, no matter how "perfect" or "easy" I may make things look, I still feel that everyday is a fine line between control and chaos in the mind of someone like me. I think the same parallel can be drawn for any teacher on any given day, regardless of whether they have similar biology to mine. I think all teachers are master illusionists, finding ways to maintain control out of the chaos of the classroom or to be verbally controlled when their mind is filled with all sorts of creative curse words. Somehow we manage in those 45 or 90 minute chunks of time, 4 to 8 times a day, to completely turn off our personal needs, and go into teacher mode, only focusing on the needs of everyone around us. Unless you have an outlet to then release all that energy you keep in, I don't know how one manages. My recent work has served as an outlet for coping with the stress and triggers that stem from my experiences teaching. It doesn't mean I am unhappy, it doesn't mean I don't love it, in fact there are few things in life I am more passionate about. It simply means that I recognize that I may go crazy if I don't talk about it, or in my instance, create about it. I don't think that we should be afraid to discuss these things because of a stigma. I know what it was like as a student to keep things in because of fear of what others may think. As an adult we can't teach our kids to express themselves if we don't model that same bravery first. So here it is, my truth and my soul out there for others to analyze. I hope it lets someone know they are not alone, and should not be afraid to communicate their truth, artistically or verbally. It is our reality and there is nothing wrong with that, and there is nothing wrong with you 😘 feel free to share this with anyone whom you think may benefit from reading. 💕



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