I have been very neglectful of my blog this year. So much so that it took me forever to figure out my password. Now that I am here, this is a long post… since it covers a year of amazing highs and lows.
Let’s start with the lows:
My biggest issue this year turned out to be my health. What started in September as shoulder tendonitis, morphed into a torn rotator cuff and a wait for surgery, followed by 8 weeks of medical leave. I am still recovering, returning to school with only 3 weeks left and a lot of “clean-up” to do after 3 different subs. Sadly a majority of my kids did not take any of their work seriously while I was gone. Nor did they take care of the classroom and supplies. It was a long time to be with a sub so we were all pretty happy when I got back.
Another low was being in a tiny (less than 700 sq ft) temporary room with a lack of storage and one small sink. Our school is deep into a major remodel. So last June, I packed up my old art room (1100 sq feet and 3 separate storage rooms) after purging for almost a whole year. Our campus was part construction zone, part portables and part old falling apart building. The good news is, next year, I will be in a glorious new building with an epic art space. (here’s a little preview…)
Another… I’ll say challenge… was all new, very green, admin staff. After years of excellent admin the switch was dramatic. Hopefully next year will be a fresh start with higher expectations, more organization and consistency.
Luckily the highs were amazing enough to allow me to survive the year.
First, I received the Pacific Region Middle School Teacher of the year award. My district is great with publicity and social media. So even before going to the NAEA convention in March, I had newspaper articles, social media and local blog posts as well as lots of praise from students, staff and families. The buzz got the attention of local King 5 news, who sent out a reporter and cameraman to do a segment on my program and my students. This 5 minutes of fame will certainly be a career highlight.
My 8th grade students were highlighted in the 5 minute segment along with TAB! It was exciting and you can watch the video here.
Also at the Boston convention, The Choice Art Special Interest Group held a very successful sold-out pre-conference workshop. Three rooms and ninety participants spent the day sharing TAB centers, demos and other successful practices. We also had a great business meeting with almost 100 teachers networking and talking Choice.
Another career highlight was being invited to be a keynote speaker at TAB Colorado. While this is not my first time presenting (I have presented sessions at national and my own state conferences since 2004) it was my first time being a paid keynote speaker. My talk was followed with a break out Q and A. It was a fun experience, especially since I have wanted to attend the TAB Colorado for a few years.
All and all I had some tough students and some excellent ones. I tried many new things, but a lot of the year I was just treading water to stay afloat in a hectic and difficult year. Chronic pain can really dampen your enthusiasm for all parts of life. At this point I am looking to the future while leaving this year behind in the literal rubble that is a construction zone. Sadly, we are still here on June 21st… finishing up the last of our 5 snow make-up days due to the Seattle Snowmageddon of 2019. Now, I’m ready for summer and a fresh start in the fall.