Tis the season to be grateful!
It is also a season of generosity, giving back to those who have given to you and sharing your wealth with others. I am grateful to have found this field of work about which I am so passionate. Additionally, I am grateful that websites like Education Closet exist where people share ideas and support for Arts Integration and innovative teaching. I have written before about what a lonely field teaching can be.
How isolating it can be with everyone busy, stressed, and consumed with their own classes. In addition to what is on their proverbial plates. Feeling that you are all alone or worse yet, that you are fighting an uphill battle because no one around you understands your approach to teaching feels exhausting. Often, I have felt this way during my teaching career. That is why I am so grateful that Arts Integration really seems to be gaining some traction. It is far easier to find other like-minded people and not only be supported by them, but also be inspired.
Unfortunately, education is no different than any other profession.
There are people who forget what is really important (in our case, the students). They let ego, ambition and fear guide them. I believe generosity begets generosity. Education truly is about sharing knowledge, and planting seeds. We educators need to be generous. Not just with our students, but with our colleagues as well. I have seen those who hoard good ideas, fearing others will steal them. People secretive about their work, because they don’t want others to take credit or outshine them. Then, there are those who do wonderful work. Yet, don’t realize how wonderful it is, and don’t think to share it not realizing the great value in it.
I would bet that most educators would agree they want their students to work together, to share ideas and support one another’s learning. If we want our students to do that in the classroom, we educators need to be role models that with our students and with our colleagues. We need to be open with our own expertise and seek support from others who have something to offer us. We need to be generous with our time and our acknowledgment of others’ accomplishments. In order to be good role models for our students, and be better professionals, we must check our ego at the door. When we behave professionally with generosity, we encourage others to do the same, students and colleagues alike.
At this time of harvest and in this season of gratitude let us remember to sow and reap together and be grateful for what each of us has to offer one another. By working together our efforts will yield so much more. The very idea of integration is rooted in the understanding that each area of study has something to offer the others and the same is true of the teachers, the staff and the students. When we integrate our expertise, we are so much more than the sum of our parts. Be grateful, be generous, be fruitful and multiply!
Deirdre is a teaching artist and AI coach in the San Diego public schools dedicated to helping classroom teachers make arts an integral part of their teaching. Deirdre has an MEd in Arts Integration and over twenty years of classroom and performing arts teaching experience. Email Deirdre.