People often ask me what I do. My response..."I'm an art teacher!". Their next question is always, "oh, what grade do you teach?" and when I say middle school, they cringe and say "ewww, I don't know how you do it. That is such an awful age". Yes, you are right, middle school was a hard time for most of us. We were groing through some tough changes, there was a lot of drama and most of us wouldn't go back to that age if you were paid a million dollars. But you know what, I LOVE this age. Is there drama? Yes, sometimes. But even more than that, these kids are absolutely incredible. They are at an age where they are mature enough to handle complex ideas and responsibilities. But they are still young enough that they love art and getting a little messy. At this age, these kids need an outlet and that's what my class is. It's a chance for them to get away from the drama, to get away from their core classes where they have to sit and listen for an hour, to get away from real life. They get to enter into a world of imagination and creativity. They get to listen to some tunes and escape. They get to have fun!
Not only is art an important class for this age but it's also important for me to form relationships with these kids. They need a safe place, a safe person to go to. I want to be that person for them. I get to know my kids, I try to understand their problems, I try to go to their level. I have fun with them.
Do I think it takes a special kind of person to want to go back to that awful age and relive it everyday? Yes! But it has been an easy transition for me. The kids make it easy for me. It's the kids that make me want to get up everyday and go to work. I can't imagine doing anything else!