My first teaching experience

I had my first opportunity for teaching art on Wednesday, to my son’s grade 2 class.  I decided to do an abstract affirmation painting in acrylics with them.  I gave the, bubble wrap and shelf liner, brayers and sponges and paint brushes, and only red, yellow, blue and white to start for the background.  The image above with the flowers was my example, and the image on the right with the heart is my son’s painting.  This was a really big step for me!  In calling myself an artist, and stepping into the role.  It didn’t come easily, but it sure was rewarding!

Here is a journal entry I wrote the morning before I taught the class…

“I’m nervous.  I’m down right afraid.  What was I thinking saying I could teach my son’s grade 2 class?  All of my gremlins are flooding in…who am I’?  What makes me an expert to teach?  My art example is ugly, what if they don’t like it?  What if we don’t have enough time?  What if we have too much time and I don’t have enough to occupy them?  I forgot cups for water (stupid).  I forgot, or should have thought of covers for the desks.  Is this too messy??  What are the teachers expecting?  Should I be teaching them steps to a “real” painting instead?”

Yep.  My mind got ugly as I was getting ready to head out to teach a class of 20 kids.  So many questions and doubts and shoulds and what ifs.

How did it go?  WONDERFULLY!!!

The class was talking about kindness, especially toward others this week, so the art class was an opportunity for them to practice kindness toward themselves.  And the teacher starts off the day with the lights dim, a meditation bell and deep breathing…it was a perfect way for me to center myself before starting, and for the children to focus and get in touch with their inner creative wisdom.  All of the students were engaged in the project, and I had many helpers at the end assisting with clean up.  They painted and scraped and stamped and rolled their art.  Some made muddy colours.  Some kept their colours separate.  Some painted “things” like hearts and butterflies, while others just splashed the colours around.  They ALL played with and experimented with colour and no rules for colour mixing.  It was brilliant!

And interestingly enough, I did see some of the things that I remember learning to overcome when I did my first art project in an online course.  Some children couldn’t understand just spreading colours around, they wanted to paint something, it was hard for them to just cover the canvas.  Others had a hard time with having paint on their fingers and washed their hands obsessively.  I am grateful for the teacher’s support, in that she encouraged the children that a little bit of mess is ok, not all of the paint will come off, and just splash the colour around and see how it goes!  She even painted a canvas, and I’m so happy for that!

I didn’t get another painting completed, I spent most of my time refilling paint trays and walking around seeing what people were doing.  But it wasn’t about me painting another affirmation piece.  It was about sharing the joy and freedom and discovery of creating.  And with that, I believe I was successful!

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