It seems as though every year we come back to school to find ourselves bombarded with more responsibilities and more hoops to jump through. Since the beginning of September, I have found myself constantly filling my time with paperwork and data research. I begin to forget why I am here in this classroom. That is why the WAEA Fall Conference is an essential part of the school year for me.
Every time I attend the WAEA Fall Conference, I am always amazed at how rejuvenated and inspired I am after the two days. Although the two days are fun filled and busy, by Friday afternoon I am in an art bliss dreaming up all of the possible lessons that I have gained from the variety of sessions I attended.
The Fall Conference is also a time for me to reflect on what I am doing in the classroom. It is a time to remind myself why I wanted to be an art teacher in the first place. It is a chance for me to remember why we are here. I have felt this year has been a blur of paperwork and responsibilities that don’t have an obvious impact on students and what I am doing in the classroom. The Fall Conference was a great opportunity for me to remind myself what the most important thing of all is; the students.
Some of my personal highlights from the Fall Conference were the new techniques I was able to learn and the integration of technology. I am currently incorporating the NEXT.cc journeys into many of my units. It was also my very first time attempting to make felt art and I cannot wait to get the materials to do it in my classroom. I am also looking forward to making some green street art this summer with some of my summer school students as well!
The location for the conference could not have been better; you could feel how much Sheboygan valued the arts. It was exciting and inspiring to see a community that finds such value and worth in visual art. I was awe struck with the Kohler Art Museum’s bathrooms and found the exhibits intriguing. The bathrooms were designed by commissioned artists and were beautiful to look at. The setting for the Awards Ceremony was exquisite. I found it to be a great reminder of how lucky I am to be here surrounded by such amazing and inspiring people.
But, as always the best part of any WAEA conference is the collaboration with WAEA members. The energy that I witnessed in every session was liberating and exciting. I am reminded why I chose to teach art rather than become a classroom teacher. I don’t think a lot of people could even imagine how much fun it is when you get over 20 art teachers in one room. I was also reminded of how important our jobs truly are to our students and society. It is amazing how hard we work to promote our students and our programs. I find inspiration in every single art teacher out there. I also find so much value in how well we work and share ideas as a group. I constantly tell art education students we are all in this together. We are all here to make sure each and every student and individual understands the great value and importance of visual arts.
All in all, the fall conference was a whirlwind of amazing creativity bliss and I could really use one every semester or month. That is why I am so grateful for our regional art idea exchanges, just another opportunity for me to hit up the Creativity Spa.