The night before.

Dear diary,

Sunday evening is here, but even though the weekend is over, I do not feel rested. In fact, I feel tired. I spent much of my time off attempting to catch up on my school work and my domestic responsibilities, but did sneak in some time of nothingness. I was run down by the end of last week, and the sick day at home did not help me feel any better. My husband planned an outing on Saturday to celebrate my long-awaited 40th birthday, which was officially on Sunday. Both of us celebrated our 40th birthdays during this pandemic, and it was scaled down, and nothing as we had envisioned it would be in the years leading up to the milestone. We still made the most of it, fellowshipped with loved ones, and shared in the celebration with love and happiness.

Dear diary,

I have reached a fork in the road. I can continue attempting to provide a quality education with extreme restrictions, running myself and my energy levels down in a traditional, mostly teacher-driven model, or I can return to my values, my comfort zone, teaching the artistic process, artistic behaviors, lessons aligned with Harvard’s Project Zero SHoM, and trusting fully in my artists as I have up to this transfer from secondary to elementary. I spent a lot of time communicating with my art teacher peers from around the world this weekend, asking for advice on how they are doing this because I need guidance. I now have a better vision, a narrowed focus to simplify my workload, reduce my growing stress and burnout, so that I can offer TAB.

At lunch time I had the chance to stop and jot down some notes from the morning. I’m pleased that the morning went smoothly, the artists eager to create, and the remote-learning part of class was uneventful. None of the clocks in this school match, even though they are all suppose to be interconnected. I’m constantly wondering if I am arriving late or early to a class. Some teachers are ready and waiting to jet out of the classroom when I arrive, while others are wrapping up and I feel like I am interrupting. Nonetheless, all of the teachers have been understanding and kind.

The most exciting part of my morning gave me insight on the artists’ desires for artmaking. The 3-sentences emphasized buy the TAB philosophy drove my survey of the artists this morning. Those sentences: The child is the artist. The classroom is the studio. What do artists do? The artists were overwhelmingly in agreement that they want more autonomy in their creative time together, so I will be focusing on preparing staple options for the cart studio, as well as some special centers that will be easy to manage.

At recess duty, I was welcomed by a 1st grader, who made multiple attempts to hold my hand. He was that charmer from a couple of weeks ago; the one who drew pictures of us together with the word LOVE written above us. Finally I gave in, and held his hand as we walked to his class’s playground zone. As we walked, he invited me to dinner, assuring me that his mother would have a full menu of food that she would prepare. Oh, brother.

I can’t believe that I have forgotten this until now: there is a detour to the school I was stationed at today. The detour has been in place since at least the beginning of the school year, with people directing traffic before and after the school day. One of the directors wears these obnoxious hats every day, but they are not obnoxious in a bad way, mind you. They are extravagantly decorated, so that one can’t miss them. She always wears them paired with a smile on her face as she waves us through the line. It’s delightful.