The End of My Blue-Period

I’m back on the proverbial wagon.

“When did you fall off?” I hear you say. “Wow, I didn’t know you had a drink problem.”  I hear you think.

No, no, no. I do not have a drink problem (unless it is tea we are talking about here). I mean the productivity wagon.
For approximately four, LONG and dismal weeks, my family has been on a constant and relentless treadmill of illness. During this, let’s call it my ‘Blue-period’, it was very difficult to keep my little business, and my mind, from going gooey. It’s bad enough being a sick mommy with sick kids, but add being your own boss to that, and a creative itch that just won’t go away, and things get a little worse.

I took my own advice and rested (I am, after all, a very understanding boss), but I also managed to do a few little things. I rearranged my work space (see before and after pictures below), and I made a series of pointless drawings, that actually turned out to have a point – I may use them as covers for notebooks that I am making. The drawings made me smile, I don’t think I would have made them if I was having a normal work week.

See, everything happens for a reason.

And I will leave you to ponder that lovely philosophical point. I’m off to make something to show you in my next post.

Montessori, and the Art of Loosening Up

I’ll be honest with you, I was a tiny bit scared yesterday.

On my way to the Boyd Montessori I kept up a stream of thoughts that went a little bit like this –

“Yes, I’m a teacher by profession, but Montessori? That’s a whole new ball game. I wonder what the class will be like? I’ve heard great things about Montessori programs, oh but I still have a few concerns. Oh dear. Blah, blah, blah.”

What concerns? I hear you ask. Well, the class I was scheduled to teach was a group of nineteen first to third graders. Okay, stop right there…

Nineteen first to third graders???  There is a whole lot of difference between a first grader and a third grader; with a smaller group of kids that would be no problem, but nineteen kids? How is that going to work out?  I could foresee more than a little mayhem in my future.

Also, I wasn’t sure how long my class was meant to be, I wasn’t sure of what prior knowledge of art the kids had.  There wasn’t a lot I was sure of. Now I like to go with the flow on many occasions, I like to space out and just … BE,  I am very good friends with Spontaneity and Chance….

…just not when it comes to planning lessons for elementary school kids.

Where elementary school kids are concerned, I like to follow Baden Powell’s  famous piece of advice ‘Be prepared’  (probably coined after spending a day out with a group of first to third graders. 🙂 So it was with some trepidation, that I entered the fated classroom.

As it happens, there was really nothing to worry about.

The class dynamic was interesting, with the kids each working at their own pace, and helping each other out.  They explored printmaking with glee, and produced some amazing pieces of work. I could feel myself literally loosening up during the class, and letting go of some of my preconceptions of how a class of this type should work. Not having a tight schedule actually meant that we could work more intuitively, and I ended up teaching them how to fold books as well!

One thing that really stood out about the children was how well they maneuvered around their space. They were were so independent when it came to finding and putting away materials, and cleaning up at the end of class. There is a lesson to be learned there.

The kids learnt a lot, and I learnt a lot as well. That is the best thing about teaching. You never stop learning.

Thank you to The Boyd School!