Missed Opportunities

Have you ever had that moment when you feel like you’ve missed your opportunity? I have. In fact, that moment, that feeling has come to me more than once in the past 10 years. {Wow, it’s already been 10 since I graduated college!}

When I went into college I had an inkling that I wanted to do something art related. I was really interested in art therapy, but felt it was too late to venture in that direction, as I had already been accepted at my college of choice. Toward the end of my first year I decided on art education. That lasted all of a semester and I decided it wasn’t for me. I didn’t like the routine of it. I felt if I went with it that I would end up in a rut, and I dropped the education part and went with a B.A. in studio art.

But during my short time as an art education major I met 4 amazing kids while group teaching. The first 3 were all hearing impaired. I had friends in high school who used sign language in order to communicate with their siblings or parents, so I had learned some sign language from them. I still remember the look on these kids’ faces when I started speaking to them in their language. It brings tears to my eyes to think about it. Then in another class there was a boy who was blind. The project we were doing was sand casting. Try explaining that to a blind person using only words. His aid was having difficulty helping him, so I stepped in to help him. I didn’t want to do it for him. I wanted him to be able to do it and feel that accomplishment himself, so I really had to challenge myself and think of how to explain it to him in a way he could understand, without me taking his hands and doing it for him. The joy he got from doing it himself was indescribable, and his aid was incredible thankful for the help also. Those 4 kids put a spark in me, and I’ve not forgotten them or how I felt when I helped them.

I’ve done some teaching since college. I had a private student for 2-3 years who won blue ribbons at the state fair for some paintings she did with me, and I started an art program at a private school. I miss these kids dearly.

 

 

 

 

One of my favorite things was seeing their transformation. The photo on the bottom was the 3rd grade class at the private school. I started off by being their substitute teacher for two weeks while their teacher had surgery. There was one boy in the class who was disruptive, wouldn’t pay attention, didn’t want to do the work, etc. (much like my daughter). When my substituting time was up and I began teaching art, however, he became my best student. He was always excited to come do art. It was like he was a different kid.

All this to say, that I feel like I’ve missed my opportunity. Sure, I could go back to college to get an art therapy degree, but I don’t feel it’s possible at this time of my life. I would love to teach art to those with “disabilities” or special needs, or to kids, like this boy and my daughter, who have ADHD and thrive creatively. I love my Etsy shop and that business, but I also want to feel like I’m making a difference in someone’s life. I feel like art (the art I remember from grade school) is dying out. Teachers and schools have opted for no art or a watered down version of it. This private school had never had an art teacher, and some of the teachers wouldn’t even let their kids cut out paper for their “art” time in the classroom. I want kids to experience the joy that I had as a kid in art class. It was always so exciting and engaging.

I’m hoping I can begin to teach some private art lessons, and maybe someday build it into a class and have to find a space to teach in. I miss it.

What opportunities do you feel like you’ve missed out on? Maybe it’s not too late…

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