Our final guest spotlight this week belongs to Jessica Balsley of The Art of Education.  Jessica inspires me weekly with her fresh insight into an art teacher’s life. In addition to, her passion for quality professional development within the arts areas. Plus, the pictures she posts of her classroom give me so many great ideas on how to organize everything in my own classroom! Jessica always provides useful resources, tips and strategies for improving the art classroom experience. While, at the same time encouraging her readership to explore and share their own personal journey in professional growth.

Here is a sample from one of my favorite entries about why PD matters:

What Kind of Fire Are You?

14 Feb

I recently attended a workshop for self discovery. The retreat’s goal was to give participants time for personal reflection, and aimed at helping you to find what your true purpose and goals are in life.  This type of thing really interests me, and relates very well to another one of my favorite topics “The Element” by Ken Robinson, which I talked about here.

During the workshop we were asked the question “What kind of fire are you?” as a reflective exercise. This fire is a metaphor for your life and your inner passion.  How strong do you feel that you are doing the thing you were meant to do?

  • Are you a tea-light, just shining so dim, but still lit? Maybe you still have a little glimmer of passion regarding your career or passions in life, but have lost some of it along the way. Maybe some of it was not your choice. Maybe other things took the front burner.
  • Maybe you are a candle?  Enjoying what you do, burning at a very sensible rate and doing things you love, but maybe not to the extent you would like.
  • Are you a campfire?  Maybe you are fulfilling your passions and even helping to spread them to others when you can…
  • Or are you even lit? Maybe you are so far removed from the things that get you ticking that you forgot what they are and have not tapped into them for quite some time. Pretty powerful stuff.

I didn’t share this with the group, but guess what kind of fire I decided I was?  I was a controlled ditch fire. I live in Iowa and grew up in the country. When they burn ditches they seem out of control, spanning for great lengths in the ditches to burn down the brush.  But someone IS in control of them, they rarely become out of control, and do the job they are intended for and then put out.  Sometimes I think I have so many  goals, so many passions and so many things I just can’t wait to do.   Sometimes I maybe need to harness my energy down to the burn of a candle so it can be focused on one thing. Maybe some people live their whole lives as a ditch fire??? It doesn’t sound very glamorous, but it does sound exciting.

To read more of this post or several others, click here.

Jessica writes for VIA this quarter about her passion for professional development, what quality PD looks like specifically for arts teachers, and how to use that PD back in the classroom so that our students are truly getting the benefit of our experiences.  As you can see, Jessica is an engaging writer, a positive person and passionate about education.  I am so honored that she is contributing to this edition of VIA!

To read Jessica’s exclusive content, download your copy of the April edition of VIA today for only $0.99!