As Thanksgiving approaches, it seems appropriate to think about the word "thankfulness." According to the thesaurus it may mean gratitude, appreciation, or recognition. In previous posts, I have written about the museum as another place for learning about art, the importance of instilling a growth-mindset in our students, and how I have learned to get high school students talking.
The topics I have considered this month are all different aspects of our profession. In this, my final post, I want to tell you about a few things for which I am thankful:
I am thankful for the opportunity to have been the November Monthly Mentor as it has allowed me the chance to slow down, if just for a few hours, to reflect on some of the things that make our profession and my job important.
I am thankful to work in a field such as ours where I really feel like I am making a contribution. In this day of high-stakes testing and emphasis on math and science, to the (almost) exclusion of the humanities, the arts play a key role in helping students learn how to think critically about, and connect personally with, content that gives meaning to their lives.
I am grateful for the opportunity to work in museum education and to share art with high school students. Every once in a while, they remind me, with that spark in their eye, of what turned me on to art. Their enthusiasm for art keeps me striving to keep it fresh for them.
The element of surprise is also something I appreciate as I slow down, wonder, and connect with the art alongside my students. How wonderful for me to be reminded that studying the same work of art again and again can offer a different perspective when looking at it through the lens of different students.
Finally, you don’t have to be the Monthly Mentor in order to reflect on your practice. Try to take a few moments just once a week to consider your work and how it impacts your students. Being more reflective has energized me as I think of new ways to reach my students. I encourage you all to give yourself this gift.