Having spent over 20 years in the classroom teaching elementary and middle school students my view of the world is always colored by my experience with people in their formative years. I am always hopeful. A teacher is in a completely unique position to spend the bulk of one year in the life of a child, a predictable and sustaining presence. In light of a teacher's influence, it is a great and solemn responsibility. I think most teachers just want to do their best for each student and make a positive contribution to their academic, social and emotional growth and development. I always said, "I never met a kid I didn't like." I meant it and I looked for the small things which made every child special, something that was not readily seen unless you spend 7 hours a day 5 days a week with someone. No matter who the student was, I always found it.
As an artist who has often incorporated candid photos into my work I have appreciated looking at life though the lens of a single moment. When going through the artifacts of a teaching career; letters and notes, yearbooks and photographs I revisited and remembered these moments, these students. In looking back, I noted that these moments not only revealed something about the day, but the students as well. It may be a feeling of ambivalence, a show of strength, a touch of vulnerability, a glimpse into their imagination. Looking back, it was magical. I can't think of a series that I have more fun painting. My students continue to give back to me more than I could ever give to them. I am the lucky one.
Images may be viewed here.
Lessons Learned, opens on May 8th at the City of Shoreline gallery on the 2nd floor. The opening reception will be held from 6:30 - 8:30 on May 8th. The exhibition will run through July. Hours are 9 - 5 Monday - Friday.