July 20, 2012

why I became an art teacher (pt. 5 the conclusion)

When I said I was on the precipice of student teaching I meant it.
It only took one push and I soon found myself dangling from that cliff.
But I held on.

student teaching
Let's be honest. Student teaching is beyond horrifying. You spent four five years preparing and suddenly you are thrown into a room full of kids and you must prove you know what you are doing. The first few days at any placement are enough to send your stomach into full on queasiness. But let's be honest again, it feels that way still when school starts now and I'm not even being watched like a hawk. Newness is scary, but it is also an adventure. I student taught for a full year at all the different grade levels. I learned more about myself that year than any of the previous five. 
I learned I can teach.
I learned I love to teach art.
I learned how to deal with unexpected challenges.
I learned that I didn't need a nine page lesson plan to teach.
I learned what it feels like to see a student click and understand something you teach.
I learned how hard it is to leave students you love.
I learned I look like a high school student.
I learn how to deal with difficult people.
I learned how truly amazing some people are.
I learned how to stand my ground.
I learned how to change.
I learned I loved teaching middle school students.
I learned that God knew what He was doing all along.
I learned.

the job
When student teaching was over the economic crisis was in full swing. I had been told by professors and friends that I should not expect to actually have a job once college was over. It was sooo wonderfully encouraging. But God did something big. Something that only proved to me again that He knew what He was up to long before I got a clue. Just a few weeks after student teaching had concluded in May I got a call from someone I did not know. They told me in a voicemail they had gotten my name from someone else I didn't know. I was being called in for an interview. After the initial interview I was sent to three different elementary schools to interview again. After my interview at the second elementary school it became clear to me and my future Principal that if any moves were to be made they needed to be made fast. The district called me for another interview  thirty minutes after I left what would become my future school. I still went to the third school and interviewed before heading to the district offices. 
Five interviews later I was given the job. 
The one they said I couldn't get. 
God had opened a door in a district where I had not student taught and where I knew no one. Humbled for sure.

to answer the question
All this to answer why I became an art teacher. I became what I had originally said I wanted to be. I think somewhere in my six-year-old heart when I sat in the car tracing my Garfield comic book a desire was placed in my heart. Sure, it was unrealized at the time. But that is how the Lord likes to work. He doesn't show us the whole plan because we would become overwhelmed and impatient. If I had known the journey I would have to face in order to be where I am now I think my fears would have won out. I wouldn't take back all the majors and challenges because without them I would never have know the blessing of  being an art teacher. I became what had been placed as a desire in my heart so long ago. Every challenge I've faced getting here only makes it that much more worth it.  We've all been called to something.
I believe I am called to lead, to create, to teach.


  1. Beautiful series! I loved reading all of them! So glad you found where you fit! I have wanted to be an art teacher since I was in elementary school. While in grad school I floundered with the idea of museum education. I almost went for it but something inside kept telling me keep going on the path I was already on. I'm so glad I did. I learned I love teaching elementary students and I love working with special needs children. I am blessed to be in my 25th year in the same district I started in! We have all worked together for so long its like family. Not everyone is as lucky to have that. Don't get me wrong there is still the same crazy issues every other district has but we have each others back and support each other. I look forward to going back to school in Sept., meeting my new students and seeing my old students. Thanks for the great read!

  2. Your welcome for encouraging you to go to my school, and for telling you I could do it first...which I did. But in English. ; ) j/k I love you.

  3. Your beautiful words are so uplifting and inspiring!! Thank you for sharing your story!!!!

  4. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I laughed when I read, "I learned that I didn't need a 9 page lesson plan to teach."
    The lesson plans I was forced to write in college were ridiculously large and impractical. One time I even wrote a 20 page lesson plan. I wish colleges would focus more on classroom management techniques and less on huge lesson plans.

    1. I agree Holly. I had to write an elementary unit once and it was 20 pages long, had on 3 projects, and lasted 5 months.What?!?! My teachers gave me an A. My students would give me an F if I did that ti them. Haha!

  5. I love how you speak right from the heart. Thank you for sharing! I have two more years left before I graduate, and your blog is inspiring!


  6. Jen,
    I really enjoy reading your blog posts, most especially this series. I feel like we heard similar callings. I am still struggling on that journey to my own classroom and reading your posts touched my heart in such a healing way. I only know you from your posts, but they are so honest and pure that it seems like I know who you are, not just what you teach. Such a great thing... never change.

  7. Awesome story! Loved reading these!