Sunday, June 28, 2015

Children's Literature Conference 2015


Last week, I was the student,  attending to the Children's Literature Conference at Shenandoah University.
I needed the 3 graduate credits....ENG 502.
I've taken ART 586, ART 607 and such but never a ENG 502. And I loved every minute of it.
Better yet, I get to write creatively all summer and turn it in in August to complete my credits.

I sat and drew in my sketchbook, took, notes, like a kid in a candy store among book people. These are my people. Aside from artists and illustrators. But this conference I was the odd man out, only three art teachers at the conference, we found each other like homing pigeons find....home. I wasn't there to win a prize or to make a book deal like other conferences I have been to. I listened to Meg Medina, Peter Brown, Raul Colon, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (I want to be as cool as her when I'm her age), Jennifer O'Connell (who was in the Art in Hands Deck with me!), Mac Barnett, Kwame Alexander and many more....

Me, far left being the "cool" underpaid illustrator.
The amazing Aaron Reynolds explaining in pure storytelling fashion,
How books are made. By pure stroke of luck, I am the illustrator.
Anne my friend and fellow artist snapped the pic with her phone.

I drew and wrote and drew....






And so begins Summer 2015. Can't think of a better way.

Anne won this signed poster of Mac Barnett's latest book, Leo (Um yes, it's about a ghost, and yes, it will be on my bookshelf soon) and she gave it to me. I'll put it up to remind myself of the task at hand. Get to work! Get to Work!


Why yes, I can.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

It's That Time of Year

Teacher present 2015 (not in frame yet).


When I went back to university to get my art education endorsement it never occurred to me that I was entering a profession full of controversy. I'll admit. I was doe eyed. I'm going to teach art and see the wonder reflected off my students eyes every day. It will fill me up, reconnect me and I'll provide them with a safe place to explore, create and frankly, be themselves. This I have done. What I didn't realize was how much I would have to defend my job choice. Especially now that it's summer.

I'm always a little melancholy at this time of year. My school year is over. What have I done? What did the kids do? Was it a good year? How can I improve? Pack up the room, take down everything, clean slate. Go home. Hear this,
"Oh it's summer. You're so lucky. Must be nice."
At first when I heard this, I thought:
Yes, it is.
Then:
Yes, I deserve it.
And then:
Hey, I don't get paid for the summer.
Next:
I've got three kids, it's not like I'm sitting around eating bon bons.
Then:
Guilt (for some stupid reason).
Then:
I'm tired of defending this.

What do people mean when they say this? I know what they mean. Man, must be nice, wish I had summers off. They aren't happy with their own job. Simple.
Why do I take it so personally? Because, I'm me. And because I feel like I have to represent all teachers in saying, We work really hard in those nine months. We care about your kids (even the crazy ones), we don't make a lot of money so throw us a bone, ok, a little time off. Trust me, we are all better off for it.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Queue

I'm getting tired of writing "it's been awhile".
I'll be honest.
I'm afraid of having a real online presence with 545 students to my name.
Sometimes its simply overwhelming.
I know them all now...every single one of them.
And unlike other schools I've worked at.
The parents are really involved here.
Which makes me happy and also want to hide.
My other side....the one that waxes and wanes and writes and draws and thinks.....
not just about what kind of glue to order next.

I've never wanted summer to come more quickly.
I've got part 2 of a book that is kicking the inside of my head to be written, leftover from my prolific last summer.

Husband, "I really wish you could make a living out of your talents."
(Teaching is one of mine, the actual teaching and connecting part).

Me too.