“Seeing their enthusiasm is contagious, and it creates a wonderful environment that makes my classroom as much of a joy for me as it does for them.”
Long Island, NY
I’ve been a teacher for thirty years now.
And you would think the job would’ve gotten easier over time. With every coming September, a new challenge awaits in the form of a group of twenty or so, mostly 3rd graders.
In each of the classes I teach, every kid has their own unique character and tendencies. To be able to teach class after class, year after year (without losing my mind or my job), I must build trust with my students and channel my inner child.
I must be mindful of my words and be a good listener. All that while adhering to the curriculum mandated by my school district. I’ve found that to be the most authentic teacher possible, I have to express myself with my students.
While my school tells me the kinds of lessons the children are expected to learn, I enjoy a lot of freedom about choosing how to guide them through their lessons. One of my favorite ways to spice up a lesson plan is through hands-on learning.
My favorite way to do this is by dressing up as the main character of whatever book we’re reading. When I do out-of-the-box things like that, it allows my pupils to develop a genuine connection to what they are learning, rather than just committing what they’re reading to rote memorization.
Another tool I use is encouraging children to be open about their cultural and familial backgrounds, creating a sense of community in the class that is open to differences and all kinds of people.
If my years of teaching have taught me one thing, it’s that the best way to relate to kids is to act like one. And the best way to do this is through self-expression.
When I dress up like a detective to do a dramatic reading, my adult friends think I go beyond. But the kids, they love it! Seeing their enthusiasm is contagious, and it creates a wonderful environment that makes my classroom as much of a joy for me as it does for them.
“I started getting into several artists’ work, such as Alex Grey, and I realized that I could put my feelings into what I was doing. I do abstract art so that my feelings can be visually observed.”
I loved drawing when I was younger but, as I got older, I realized that I could do a lot with art. Portraying my emotions, telling a story about my life visually, etc. I started getting into several artists’ work, such as Alex Grey, and I realized that I could put my feelings into a hobby that I already liked.
I do abstract art so that my feelings can be visually observed. Art, for me, is very therapeutic and it helps me to understand how I feel. My art can also be used to work out my emotions by physically drawing and visually seeing them.
For the most part, I draw mandala style. Because of that, there is usually not a specific subject that I focus on. My various lines and patterns just change based on what I am feeling at that time.
I draw in my mandala style because I like to express my emotions in this abstract way. Rather than trying to replicate something exactly, my style allows my hand to flow freely based on my feelings.
I have thought about taking art classes to improve my expertise, but I have not actually taken a serious one yet. Even though it is not in an art classroom, I do show my abstract art to people who I feel comfortable with, like close friends or relatives. I do not show it do everyone since my work is personal to and for me.
Someone negatively judging my art is the same as them negatively judging me. So, I show my art to the people I trust. For example, I show my work to my family, especially my mom.
My sister used to draw, but she does not anymore, so I am the only one who draws now. When people do see my drawings, I usually get nervous.
I am basically exposing a part of myself by showing them an art piece. But, depending on the reaction of the person I show, I may also end up feeling accomplished.
That feeling of accomplishment is partly why I would recommend drawing to others. Any art form in general. I think it’s a great outlet for people who enjoy art.
“I never felt like I was truly being myself on stage or screen before acting in comedy.”
Los Angeles, CA
Ever since I was young, I always loved acting. Growing up in California, I admired the glamorous lifestyles of actors and actresses. I just found it so fascinating that they could transform into whoever they wanted to be.
They inspired me and gave me ideas for what type of productions I would like to be a part of. I remember when I was around four years old, I would put on plays for my family.
I would have my siblings and cousins play the supporting roles, but they never had many lines! As you can see from a young age, I enjoyed how acting gives people the ability to collaborate with others.
However, this soon was enough for me. I wanted to act in a theater group with a real organized cast. Soon enough, I was in acting classes and starred in many musicals and plays throughout my childhood.
I took pride in my work and took it very seriously. Acting in theater group also helped me expand and perfect my craft.
Learning from professionals who were so passionate about acting really inspired me to keep growing as an actress. Furthermore, I was also inspired by my cast mates who have become some of my lifelong friends to this day. Even though we all now young adults with busy lives, we still make a point to keep in touch.
Currently, acting is still a hobby of mine. However, I am not currently in a theater group and have strayed away from theater quite a bit.
It is not that I do not enjoy theater, but I found a such a profound love for comedy. Personally, I feel that comedy is very underrated and should be celebrated more in society.
It’s such a great genre that brings smiles to those who watch and those who act in the field. I first became hooked on this genre after acting in a comedy seminar around two years ago.
It complimented my outspoken and bubbly personality perfectly. Also, I never felt like I was truly being myself on stage or screen before acting in comedy.
This was never a problem for me though, as I loved portraying different characters. However, comedy makes me feel like I am truly being myself and expressing myself in the most natural way!