Are we doing enough? As we came to the close of Youth Art Month, Matt and I had a conversation about how we spent the month of March, and let me just say it was a bit of a whirlwind. We reflected on how we advocated for students during Youth Art Month, and how we survived the pace of our professional and personal lives.
We had two amazing hosts lead K12 chat and we hosted a Teach Like a Pirate chat about Youth Art Month, attended and tweeted from NAEA16 (saw two works from our district represented at the NAEA YAM exhibit), hosted a K12 meet up sponsored by Ed Closet while at NAEA, and participated as a family in the elementary YAM night. Then the next night, Laura participated in the secondary YAM event, Laura and our kindergartner attended the local Young Master’s Event, and to finish out YAM Laura headed to Austin to celebrate district students at the state reception. All of this happened in the midst of moving our family of five to a new house.
As most of you know, we are parents first. Our three kids are our everything, and we’ve been trying to find balance between home and work. In an effort to make life a easier and gain more time with family each day, we moved to a house much closer to work and school. Doesn’t hurt that it’s a little smaller for easier upkeep, and has a pool for the long hot Texas summers! March also included St. Paddy’s Day (and 17 years of knowing each other), Easter, and adding a new family member named Milley (a sweet puppy). You might say we are cra- cra-crazy, but we prefer to call it a crazy wonder”full” life.
Any way you cut it, we are still left wondering if we did enough. It could be because we have such a full life that we both go a million miles a minute, and often in two directions. These are just a few of the questions we ask ourselves:
- Did we spend enough time with the kids?
- Did we spend enough time reviewing math facts or reading with the kids?
- Was their dinner nutritious enough?
- Did we work hard enough on our lesson plans?
- Have we spent enough time supporting art teachers?
- Did we advocate enough for art education?
- Did we do enough to support Youth Art Month?
Do you see a common word?
It IS enough. We are a team and we do the best we can, but with a lot of help. We couldn’t do any of the things we did this month without the help of our family, friends, colleagues and our professional learning network. We had help – lots of help! So many people we can not name them all! But here are a few examples: our friends, the McGranes, who helped us move; Matt’s parents who watched our kids while we away; our co-workers who supported each other, and our students and district events.
Then there was our professional learning network, who are also a near and dear part of our support system. In fact one the shining highlights of the month, was the opportunity to spend time meeting the K12 crew at NAEA16. The meet-and-greet was so inspiring: meeting with all of our PLN, putting real faces with names and just enjoying the moment to make our connection stronger (which we couldn’t have made possible without the support of Susan Riley and EducationCloset.)
After leaving the meet and greet, Laura and I talked about if it was enough? Our PLN keeps us inspired to constantly improve not only as educators, but as people. They are more than we could have imagined; creative, collaborative, caring and always there to support each other. It is about giving what you get and we feel we have a lot to give back to our PLN, and our hope is to continue to be enough for them.
Wishing you a creative journey for the Youth Art Month,
Matt & Laura Grundler
Laura and Matt Grundler are art educators from Plano, Texas. They are also proud parents, bloggers and founders of the popular Twitter Chat #K12ArtChat. After teaching middle school art, high school art and working as an assistant principal, Laura has moved into the role of district Visual Arts Coordinator. Matt started out as a graphic designer; however after finding the commercial side of design to be unsatisfying, he soon found his niche as a K-5 Art teacher. Both Laura and Matt are passionate about raising their three creative kids, sharing their love of art education with their professional learning network and continuing to grow everyday.