The Teacher In Me.

The Teacher In Me.

If anyone had told the 20 year old me that in my 30’s I would discover teaching was my gift. I would have probably snorted in a snotty way that only young people know how to do. 

But...I learned teaching is one of my gifts. (You know, those things God blesses us with that seem to come natural and we can then use them for him.) So yep! I love to teach. Now to be honest after years of every type of teaching gig possible I have become very selective.  I now  teach very, very, part time....like just a couple of times a year. But don’t worry, for years it was a pretty full time occupation for me. 

Now let’s give credit where credit is due. I didn’t just waltz into a classroom and walaaa! I had some pretty great mentors and some pretty unusual learning opportunities.  It’s just...with a little bit of knowledge, I got it, and it just flowed.  Don’t worry I have had my experiences and days where nothing went right and I was pretty sure failure was my name. (Let’s not even begin the conversation that centers around glue and kindergarten!! YIKES)

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So last week I taught a summer camp here in my little town of Amite Louisiana. I like summer camps because there is  hardly any paper work and a lot of times (actually all the time) I can plan whatever strikes my fancy. (No curriculum connections. Which is my specialty during the school year)

                                                                                                                Art by students of the camp.  We drew parts of a candy wrapper very large.

                                                                                                              Art by students of the camp.  We drew parts of a candy wrapper very large.

So when I was asked to present the proposal for the Amite Art Camp I suggested we put together a semi permanent public mural.  Everyone seemed pleased with the idea.  As I started planning I decided "Pop Art" would be my theme for the camp. 

Pop Art is art based on modern popular culture and the mass media, especially as a critical or ironic comment on traditional fine art values. Now I didn't get into all those detail with the students.  We just used popular cultural things to draw.   You can read more about it Pop Art  here.

                                                                             I took a picture of each students eye, converted it to black and white, printed it.  Then the students drew their eye really big on paper with pencil.

                                                                           I took a picture of each students eye, converted it to black and white, printed it.  Then the students drew their eye really big on paper with pencil.

                                                                                                                                                                    We drew tennis shoes...really big!

                                                                                                                                                                  We drew tennis shoes...really big!

Unfortunately the mural part of the camp was not gelling in my mind.  I wanted the mural to fit with my "POP ART" theme, but I also wanted it about the town of Amite.  The word Amite is an old Indian word for friendship.  I wanted to incorporate friendship and community into the mural but, honestly the thought of only a week to get 4th through 8th graders to draw and paint lots of people being friendly was giving me hives.  Then as I was googling all the artist of the "Pop Art" era I saw Keith Haring's figures and pop!!! (ha! pun intended) I knew what we could do for friendship.

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This is an example of Keith Haring's work.  So I felt that with figures like these we could have fun and create a fun mural.

 

Following is some images from the Art Camp.

Below is the mural in the park. 

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Starting from the right... The pink panel depicts all the music in are area. The next panel has magnolias and oak trees which we have a lot of in the south. The next panel is the Tangipahoa River that is just outside of Amite.  The panel with the bike is depicting things you do with your friends.

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Starting at the left is a part of a local plantation home.  The next panel shows crawfish and having crawfish boils is a very southern way to have your friends over. Next is a panel that depits the downtown area of our town and the forth panel is oysters and Amite is know for the Oyster Festical hosted here.

My main goal when I teach is to leave each student with a sense of accomplishment.  Whether that is a new set of skills, or the knowledge that, "I did that".  

Putting a public mural together in a week is a fast and furious job.  But what I love about murals is what a great sense of accomplishment it brings to the students.  Each mural that I do (I have created over 15 in many different schools) is a collaboration between the students and myself.  In this mural, they drew and painted all the images, but I added all the black lines to give it our "Pop Art" feeling.

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