‘ Stop thinking about school work. You need the break to run the work marathon. ok… what shall I do?.’ This post answers it.
I have the feeling that if I don’t blog, I will slowly lose the motivation and discipline to do so at the rate that I’m going. If you noticed, my FB page has been taking a slow toil. I. never. thought. I’d come to this stage.
In my mind and heart, I’ve a lot of ideas and stories I wish to share. Just that this year, I need much more time to adjust and have a work life ‘balance’. Interestingly, now, this word is out and ‘Harmony’ is in. Work life balance indeed gives me a rigid strain- I must give equal attention to my work, my family, my personal life etc. However, Harmony suggests a more wholesome embrace of how I keep my life in a contented and joyous state.
Prior to this, I struggled with mummy guilt. If I needed to go earlier to work or return later, I would fret over the loss time with my kids. When I do the opposite, I worry over my unattended workload. That is, until I read somewhere that reminded me on what it means to be in harmony. No one can compartmentalise one’s life equally. There is a season where one may need to devote more time at work in order to spare more time at home and vice versa. In other words, as a beginning teacher (yes, I am one since this is my official posting to a Primary School) I had to relearn and unlearn aplenty of what i was used to (i.e. secondary style of teaching) Yes, I teach my own kids and groups of young kids before. However, I am now handling a class of 35 to even 40 kids at one go! It exasperates me to discover I’ve ‘lost’ my teacher instincts. With reflection, I knew I had to settle my school practice first. I need to devote some time to relearn the ropes of a Primary school teacher. It is challenging due to the nature of my subject.
‘WHAT?’ you may be thinking aloud. ‘Art is so easy to mark!’ ‘No need to do much what?’ These are pretty common misconception of the old school. It may be true in the past, but now it has developed into a more exciting nature. I am highly inspired by Cassie Stephens’ Art Room routines and aspire to bring in some aspects of her routine into my own classroom. Take a peek at her routine and your jaws will drop! Of course our culture is very different. Nontheless, do you see the amount of preparation required? The deeply thought out lesson plans that she carried out? These efforts consume much more energy than marking a stack of papers. We may not need to mark laborious open ended questions, we still have hundreds of work to grade due to the many classes we cover. I have yet to mention the extra projects we are given, where art teachers are designers for the endless ocassions…. I tried teaching a class of 35 eight year olds to paint at the same time. I almost fainted at the end of the lesson. Instead of complaining why MOE doesn’t provide enough help so that classes can be smaller, I choose to learn and improve for the next class. I went around seeking advice and enrolled in an online Art conference to get the support I need.
Instead of letting guilt reign, I plan to devote more time in establishing my classroom routines for this term with the help of my kids (like helping me colour my instructional cards, cleaning my art room and I hope, to get them to paint my art room in future with permission). I figured that once I can establish a firm routine in school, I will have a cheerful heart to care and guide my own children. They have afterall had 6 years of my stay home time. It’s time for them to learn more independently without my constant presence. And time for me to share this passion of teaching art to others. I still believe strongly in teaching the public school, as this is where the mass can benefit from good artistic practices.
Kids helping to scrub clean the soiled clay tools.
A lesson on First Hand Observation
An Art Installation and my preparation of logistic materials.
With this dilemma resolved, I can step out of the house with quick and sure feet, knowing i can make a difference in and out of the house if the Lord is willing. Therefore, if I am missing in action over here, do pardon my lapse of post frequency. Hope to have you stick around.
Meanwhile, Happy Chinese New Year to those celebrating with reunion dinners to come! A blessed holiday for the rest of you too!
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