I am quickly rounding out my second year of teaching. During my first year of teaching I was constantly being told how it gets easier your second year! I am still waiting to see that. Although I feel worn out, I can still say it was truly a successful year. This year I tried for the first time to incorporate Artsonia as a way to assess student work, as well as, another way to share with the school district and community what we are doing in the art room. Although it has been more work, I currently have over 2,000 pieces of student art in the gallery. I have heard nothing but compliments from parents and faculty. We have also raised over $100 for the art department. I am hoping to use this money to bring in a traveling show or take the students on a virtual tour. The biggest benefit I have found with using Artsonia is how it shows student growth without having to hold on to student's artwork in a portfolio and find a place to store it. It is really exciting as an art teacher to see what kinds of comments students and parents write about the artwork. I think this program is so worth the extra work.
This year was also the first year I had to take on our annual district wide art show and soup supper all on my own. I have always been the kind of person that thinks that things can be better. So this year for our 3rd annual "Giving Bowls" event I decided to go all out with a Fairy Tale theme. In the past year we raised over $800 for our local food pantry and this year I wanted to double it. I had every student from kindergarten through fifth grade create a bowl. We even had a night for staff and community to come in and make a bowl. All of the proceeds went to our local food pantry. It is a great way for students to give back to the community that is so supportive of our school district. The event was very successful. The halls were covered in fairy tale themed artwork and students and attendees were encouraged to dress up for the event. Fifth grade students served the soup and wrapped up the bowls. We even had students in characters give tours. The event requires a lot of work and is a great way to get parents into the classroom and volunteering. We raised over $1,000 at this year's event, which was then matched by a local businessperson. It was a great success but don't worry I already have ideas to make it even better next year.
I have come to the realization that I am the kind of person that can't stop. I have to keep improving and filling my plate with more responsibilities. Even though it can be tiring, when I see my smiling students say art is their favorite class, I know it was worth all the work. I know each and every art teacher is putting forth every effort to meet their student’s needs and make sure they still have an art department next year. Just remember at the end of the year there are going to be a lot of students that are going to miss you!