Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Reflections on the IAEA Conference

On November 7th & 8th I had the opportunity to attend the 2014 Illinois Art Educators Association Conference.  The other art teachers in my district and I had decided over the summer we would for sure attend, but for some reason I am always a little apprehensive. So, I waited until the last minute and had to spend a good 30 minutes in line  registering.  I've learned my lesson:

I must go every year.
I must register in advanced.
I mustn't worry about sub plans.  (that wasn't a major concern...I did literally write the book on that one...)
It is a great time.
It is well worth it.
And it should not cause me any anxiety.

Why do I get all nervous and anxious and weird about these things?  I'm guessing it is just general anxiety about not wanting to talk to people (that's all on me, I know).  The IAEA is a great community and full of so many art education superstars.  Seriously, those names you are reading in Studies for Art Education, and SchoolArts, and countless blogs are all there.  It's a tough group to be grouped with! But, I am so proud that I am.

A few of the sessions that impacted me:

Laura Milas spoke on the new National Visual Arts Standards.  I have been trying this year to implement the new standards into my teaching.  I have really been struggling with the new language and the goals.  I left her 45 minute presentation with an 11 x 17" glossy packet of the standards and this idea that I was going to revamp my entire curriculum that weekend.  It seemed to make so much sense!  Of course, It's November 18th, and I've been carrying the standards around with me from school to school and much of that initial excitement got pushed to the backburner.  The presentation definitely put me in the right direction, now it is up to me to focus and use what I learned. (maybe instead of blogging....)

Shout out to the Leban's for their presentation on modifications for students with special needs.  The schools I currently teach at do not house my districts special ed. programs, but most art education degree programs do not focus on teaching students with special needs enough, and the more you can learn the better.

Several of the presentations focused on staying an artist while being an art teacher.  It initially hit me how vital this part of art education was when I started graduate school.  I realized for the first time that I actually have two jobs.  I am an artist, and I am a teacher.  There are a lot of teachers who aren't artists, and their are a lot of artists that can't teach. Sometimes we forget that we are not just the organizers, presenters, and ringleaders purveying the most important information the kids get all day.

The session I attended was  Finding Creativity from Hether Hoffman.  A key point was to make time for your art.  Even if you miss one Saturday a month with your kids - go make your art.  This is a tough one for me.  My kids are eating frozen pizza every other night and being schlepped between two small businesses on a regular basis.  (We used to eat clean!) It's November and our schedules have not reached a point of normalcy.  Obviously, not making my own art is disconcerting.  I have been thinking about this a lot.  We all need to make time for our art.  And I need more coffee. Hoffman's talk was very goal oriented.   Tell people about them so that you will keep them.  I was all ready on slate to have art displayed this spring at my library, but now I am going to make sure and enter the Illinois Art Education Association's Northeast Council Member Show.  I'm in an art room or art studio every single day! Make ART!

I attended the IAEA's Northeast Council meeting session too.  The room was packed with art teachers from all parts of Chicagoland. The discussion was about professional development opportunities, meetings and mini-conferences, and scheduling gatherings... It was invigorating! Yes, we should do these things!  Yes, let's meet at a museum, let's go paint! I was excited, until I remembered that I don't really like talking to people (it's me, it's not the people, it's introvert stuff). I did think that in the future No Corner Suns should host a mini conference in my mini-studio.  Several art education superstars teach just up the road!  They should come to my studio and teach a mini-conference.  Or the Northeast Council could come to a No Corner Suns event! Yikes.  Like that wouldn't be pressure - me teaching a group of art teachers?

And that brings me to November 2015.  I could totally teach a group of art teachers, Doodling along during presentations, I wrote down EIGHT possible topics to present next year.  Another goal, March 2015:  Turn in a conference presentation application, and see you next year!

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