Ever since I was a little kid I have been surrounded by mysteries. We lived in a small ranch house that was owned by a man whose wifeswapped in the 60s.She had committed suicide in our basement and he was moving to Florida. He gave us the house if we took over the payments and he left a lot of old things in the basement. Old photos, 1930s pinball games, a microscope, super 8 films, old electronics and more. Oh, yeah, and a terrible vibe that things were not right down there. I was told not to mess with his stuff because my dad was afraid that he would come back some day to reclaim his treasures. He never did. I spent countless hours exploring these items and wondering in secret what they were and what they were used for.. It was a secret world that only I and my friends knew about.
Teaching has been a lot like that basement. I got hired on a provisional certificate. This means, I did not have my teaching license but had significant life experience in my field. As such, I started teaching without TRULY knowing what I was doing. I was in someone else's used art room filled with years of accumulated junk. I was in heaven, but this did cause me certain issues as one might imagine. I didn't know the tricks of the trade for classroom and project management but I loved kids, art and I worked hard at making connections and sharing my love of the arts with my students. Love and passion trumps books smarts most of the time.
This became a real asset however once I had a few years under my belt as I was not tied down to many of the conventions that I see teachers struggle with. I was not a slave to schools of thought about teaching nor was I afraid to try out new or experimental projects and approaches. Instead, I developed my philosophy of teaching by trial and error and what I felt I needed to become the artist I had become. In those early years, I had been paralyzed with fear in my art making due to long standing insecurities developed in childhood and further ingrained in grad school. The fearlessness I felt in teaching would eventually close into a feedback loop and help my art making. A truly symiotic relationship. Now, 12 years into my carreer, I am continuing my exploration of the mysteries of classrooms and life as I spend time developing a TAB (Teaching for artistic behavior) classroom.
The "EAT PASTE" page on this site is dedicated to my research on this topic, and on teaching in general. I am wrestling with these issues as I have always done, through images. I want to record for myself the ups and downs that I face as I teach and see how artmaking can now feed my teaching by giving me a refective mirror to think about the things that take place, or that need to change. I will be posting weekly a variety of pages from my EAT PASTE JOURNAL. I hope it helps me answer some questions but I suspect it will produce more questions.