This week is the start of Term 2 for my Art Academy students. Although I enjoyed my downtime during the two-week holiday break, I really looked forward to seeing my kids. What’s not to love about this job? Let me count the ways….
1) The joy of anticipation
Whether it’s the twinkle in the eyes and voices of a returning student or reassuring a nervous newcomer that s/he will be alright, I love meeting my students. Every child promises a different adventure in my teaching journey, and my prayer is that I give my very best to hone their creative gifts.
2) Kids are funny
Every day is different when you teach children, thanks to the variety of personalities you meet. Boredom is non-existent when you work with kids — even those who challenge your patience. What’s more, even simple antics — like holding a pair of giant lips up to your face or a funny expression — will get them giggling! And a happy class makes me a happy teacher.
3) I can make a difference
“I can’t do it!” is a line I occasionally hear in my class. During one week, I had heard it way too often. There is power in our words – whether it’s negative or positive. “Everyone, from now on I will ban the word ‘can’t’,” I told the class. “Instead, raise your hand and say ‘Can you help me?'” Even if it meant I had to race around the classroom to assist a kid with her hand up in the air, it paid off. One five-year-old looked ready to give up. I crouched next to her, and guided her to draw that which she struggled to do. When she did it, I high-fived her. That little victory made her a braver little chickadee to try new things.
4) Children teach me
Unbeknownst to my students, I learn new things from each and every one of my kids. Jim* is seven and impresses me with his amazing spirit of serving. He helps me get the classroom ready for class even if I don’t ask for help! “I can’t wait to see what we’ll do today, Maya,” says Maxxy*, 6, who gives me the gift of enthusiasm every week. Pia*, 9, isn’t just an incredible artist but a big sister to everyone who sits next to her. She assists little ones to draw straight lines and helps me out in class. And then there are the quiet sweeties Nina* and Emy* who surprise me with home-baked goodies. Oh and I will never forget L*, whose sweet Easter card is tacked on our fridge to remind me why I do this.
Teaching is a joy and a privilege I am thankful for. Here’s wishing you at least one thing that makes you beam with gratitude.
* Names have been changed.