Archive for January 1st, 2012


Happy New Year!

January 1, 2012

Giving in 2012!

During the last week I found myself reflecting on 2011. Over and over again  I counted my blessings and thought about how fortunate I am to be working at the Maine Department of Education as the visual and performing arts specialist.

I have been thinking about teachers and the daily task of teaching. The field of arts education is about teaching, yes, but so much more. It is about caring deeply, and continuously giving back, passing it forward so to speak. As difficult as the work might be, I don’t think anyone in the teaching profession has it as good as arts educators.

I am not referring to teaching schedules or working spaces but the opportunity to work with students before, during, and after school with content that we are passionate about. In many cases, after school and in the evening and weekends when not teaching, arts teachers are rehearsing or creating to prepare for a performance or an exhibit of their own work. Many collaborate with friends and colleagues, artists and musicians. It is all part of the experience, ongoing professional development, while feeding one’s soul.

Recently, Loren Fields emailed me and said this referring to his good fortune of being a teacher, musician, horn player: “it is a deeply gratifying cycle that we all (students and instructors) are enriched by.”

On December 30th while reading the Portland Press Herald I saw Bill Nemitz column where he wrote about a program from the Long Creek Youth Development Center. The piece is called called Hooked on giving back. Students are engaged in crocheting blankets, sometimes for their family members, but mostly to be given to the community. Many are for children who during this time of year are especially in need of comfort. The article is a wonderful description of giving back, not only by these young offenders inside the juvenile detention facility but by the man who volunteers his time working with the young people there. The young people had passed a milestone and created the 3,000th blanket.

I am quite certain that 2012 will be another year of giving back by arts educators. My warmest wishes for all the arts educators reading this blog post and deepest gratitude for the work you do each day with students and arts education! May your year be filled with giving back that makes your heart grow a little larger!

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