June 4, 2014

Yes I'm Crazy.

I do weird things. Like jump up and down when I get an idea. Get obsessed with trying to learn new things.  Believe anything is possible. When something proves to be out of my reach I often revert to the "it was not meant to be" mentality.

I basically grew up believing that Disney movies were not just stories, but a philosophy, a way of life. A little tune, "whistle while you work" and "snap, the job's a game." For a long time I thought people were joking with some of their off color comments because really how could you take yourself seriously saying something so ignorant! I'm annoyingly hopeful. I believe in people and quotes like "you have to make hay while the sun shines (thanks to Julie)" and "things left on the back burner get burnt (thanks to Doris.)"

I try my best to be realistic and keep the string of my kite securely fastened to the ground. But I totally had to let go of that string when I agreed to present at the Summer Conference for Art Educators presented by AOE.

 So why on earth during the busiest time of year am I presenting at an art conference? Because those annoying little blue birds on my shoulder keep telling me that I've got to speak up about the trials and triumphs of going beyond classroom management. Having problems in your classroom? GOOGLE classroom management and you will find tons of tricks and tips. But, I'm an artist and I have to believe that my classroom goes beyond quiet lines and colored tickets for behavior. Yes, classroom management is key (and it's been something I work on everyday as a survival technique in an inner-city school.) And I will talk with you about how exactly to manage procedures (there was nothing online like this for art teachers when I was crying everyday my first year teaching middle school in the inner-city.) But, beyond that I want to start to talk about the small steps we can take to teach Peace while keeping the Peace.

We believe in explicit instruction for everything, from how many points we earn for "being good", to how to walk in the hallway, how to sit at a concert, how to sharpen a pencil, yet there is little instruction on how to respectfully disagree, or how to get a person's attention, how to listen and hear, how to use rituals to create community, how to embrace your failures as part of growth, or how to simply appreciate someone else. Getting my masters in Conflict Transformation changed how I viewed the conflicts in my classroom. I started to think of them as teaching tools for both me and the students. Everything that I will talk about in this workshop came to light because of this Masters in Conflict Transformation experience. I am forever grateful for the mentors and friends in my life who embrace my crazy and believe that peace is possible.

Although this course was completed over a year ago it will be a lifetime of work for me. Since then, I accept that conflict is part of our work as teacher. Accepting conflict as a fact of teaching/life has brought me peace as a teacher. No we can't control everybody (especially 600 kids a week), and even the best classroom management has problems, but we create life long lessons from the everyday conflicts that arise.

So yes I'm crazy. At the end of this busy busy school year, I am going to be presenting on the topic of

because something is telling me we need to focus on more then just "classroom management." Maybe it's the news or maybe it's the teachers who contact me from my blog who are looking for answers on how to begin to teach these lessons when their students are angry, frustrated, lacking boundaries and acting out. But as much as we all love adorable pinterest lessons, what's the point if kids are acting out?

I hope you agree and can join me for this presentation about the trials and triumphs of teaching peace and keeping peace for our kids.

1 comment:

dawn said...

Looking forward to this topic very much!