Maybe someday I’ll get a picture of my other art classes, but until then I’ll show you a picture of last semester where I had 4 students in a third and fourth grade class. They had to draw just the tape around their fellow student, the warm up drawing were very fun to see. The model here is Abigail who is very articulate for a 3rd grader and she is probably the closest to how I relate to my own children. I love to hear her talk about all her imaginings and the stories she tells with them. My other elementary students are somewhat overwhelmed with pop-culture, gender roles, and perfection. “Mrs. Katie, I just can’t get this to look right.” “Mine looks terrible!” “Can I start over?” “Mrs. Nutson, can I finish this at home?” “Do I have to color it in” “I wasn’t sure if this is what you wanted”. Sometimes it’s really hard to hear them fight their longing to become better. Sometimes I wish they could just embrace the fact that they are children, and that they have so much time to learn and grow and experience these projects over and over again. I feel like I bore them sometimes and they want to take on more. Am I treating them like they are too young to do these things? Then I ask them to feel, to think, to practice, to work and I don’t think I’m being too easy on them anymore. Abigail is a bright star in my class. She’s not the only one, there are many talented kids in my class. Abigail always says, “Mrs. Knutson (she’s says my name right), thank you for teaching me” and it makes me feel warm and fuzzy almost every time. She makes me stop and forget the chaos of the other 14 students, and realize that I am doing something great for these students. I get many thank yous, but Abigail is so consistant in her thankfulness. She is my inspiration as I think of what I need to say thank-you for.
I am thankful that I have comissions to work on. I am thankful that I have a great babysitter who is loyal and joyful and packs up my kids to go home almost better than I packed them to meet her. I am thankful for a great teacher’s aide who will be a great teacher, artist, worker, mother (perhaps) someday. Marie, my teacher’s aide, holds onto the rules I have set and echos me when appropriate to the students she is helping. She sets up for me so I can eat (such a guilty pleasure it seems). She cleans up while I greet my eager-to-see-Mama children so I can wipe noses, give hugs and talk to parents. She feels the warmth when Abigail says “thank you for teaching me”. I am so blessed to be teaching art. It really makes me wonder why I was so scared to do it before. The group that I am teaching welcomes me and my little family with open arms. It feels so wonderful to be so liked and supported. I know that we are all human and selfish and relationships can go astray, but the Kingdom of God is a body that is working toward redemption. The fact that I know the second I introduce new people and new experiences to the students (and parents) that they will trust me and be glad that I am pushing them into a place that God has lead me too.
I am thankful that I can help. That I can offer someone time, goods, prayers and meals. That is a joy that only comes when you can give. In this thankfulness, I forget the short-comings of my life. I forget the frustration of not knowing how to decorate my home or clean my home as well as others. I forget that I wish I had a better TV, DVD player, stereo etc. I forget about the money I don’t have and instead I am overcome with thanks for the little bits I can earn for my family and trust that we will always have enough. I forget the stress of children who disobey, and look forward to their growth and our families growth together. I forget that I covet and envy and instead I repent and give thanks that God blesses us.
On this grey day I come home tired from teaching, but I take this time for myself to absorb the joy of teaching. I have much to do this week. Josiah’s birthday party (along with 3 other special boys) will be my top priority. Just how many cupcakes do I need to make? I will try to carry this joy a little longer and rest in the fact that Jesus loves me so much.