Teaching

Teachers, Art and Things That Last Forever

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When I was a child I would spend hours quietly playing by myself. Endlessly entertained by my wild imagination – I would stay up all night long drawing pictures. I was weird and solitary. My best friend was a dog.

School was difficult for intense, introverted kids like me.

It is so easy to become lost..

Sometimes, forever.

I don’t remember much from those days.. after all, that was over 40 years ago.

But I remember Mrs. Kelly – my elementary school art teacher.

Mrs. Kelly would sit next to me and quietly marvel over the drawings I made. Afterwards, she would put them in the glass display case in the hall outside her class – for all the world to see.

Now, volunteering to teach art to a group of inner city kids – I find myself drawn to the introverts. The quiet kids sitting alone.. trying to disappear into the background.  I sit next to them. I draw with them. I speak quietly with them – and I marvel over the drawings they make.

If you are a teacher and think you do not make a difference – you are wrong.

You make all the difference in the world.

The time you give to your students can literally change the course of their lives. Your kindness and encouragement will echo inside them, and will continue to touch the lives of others forever.

Your reach is further than you can imagine.

Thank you, Mrs. Kelly… wherever you are.

I never got the chance to tell you that I love you.

Catfish Kittens, Snakes and Exploding Hearts

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Last week at our art class there was a quiet little boy sitting by himself at a table.

He looked hurt somehow.. there was such a sad look on his face.

When it was getting close to the end, I coaxed him over and asked him to show me what he was drawing. Wow, what a talented artist he is! He made a beautiful picture of an octopus, a flower and a golden pyramid.

I showed him my drawing of a weird fish wearing a crown swimming next to a “catfish”… with the head and paws of a cat and the tail of a fish.

The little boy’s eyes got big.. his mouth twitched a little – but he didn’t say a word.

So, I asked him “Do you think catfish have kittens?”.. and the biggest smile on earth practically split his face in two. It lit up the room like the sun.

I gave that drawing to him.

When class was over, he stayed late to help us put away all the pencils and paper. I thanked him for helping us clean up.

Yesterday, the boy returned to draw with us again. When class was over, he handed me his drawing of a beautiful, polka-dotted snake and whispered, “This is for you.”

Sometimes I think my heart is going to explode.