My last day at Kimball Elementary School

It was June 2011, and the spring was still offering some raindrops as apparent resistance to the sun who timidly appeared to announce the proximity of the summer. The undefined weather resembled my last day at Kimball Elementary School reflecting on a mixed feeling around my heart.  Happiness for moving to a different direction with Arts Corps after accepting my new role as Faculty Development Manager, blended with the sadness of knowing that I made a decision to stop teaching my afterschool class.

I didn’t intend to overload myself with too many different activities, so I could embrace my new responsibilities and ongoing activities with more efficiency. Although, not ready to cease my academic activities, I will still be teaching music once a week at a non-profit music school in the Eastside. I felt that I was ready to join the Arts Corps staff and become a new component of an impressive team that bravely fights to provide quality Arts Education to King County.

On my way to the gymnasium where my class was held, I performed the same ritual: stop first in the lunch room, say “Hi” to Mary, and pickup the basket full of snacks to distribute to my students after our usual check in. I was almost entering my teaching space, when a student intercepted me, and with a beautiful smile on his face and a vivid voice said “I know you… you are the drumming teacher, and I can’t wait to join your class next quarter”.

Without waiting for my response, the boy disappeared into the long corridor among other students, parents and teachers who moved rapidly in different directions to who knows where. What I know is that his statement made me ponder how that child’s reaction would be when he finds out that the class he wanted was no longer available. I had to “put myself back together” and be prepared to bring a positive presence to my students who were about to arrive.

After my class, before I turned my car on, I spent a few minutes reflecting about the weather and myself. Why the image of the child walking away after his solid announcement was affecting me so hard and why I was thinking about the rain and the sunlight. Those assorted conditions some how made me understand even better, that Teaching Artists are making a difference.

It was clear that that child wanted to stay afterschool because my drumming class did exercise a positive response while making the school still a safe environment even after-hours. I should not procrastinate on giving a bigger step to help Arts Corps to imagining possibilities by looking at ways to expand the action of Teaching Artists who for sure will hear some other boy or girl saying: “…I can’t wait to join your class next quarter”.

Eduardo Mendonça
Arts Corps - Spring 2011
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Reflecting on our teaching

On June 7th, Arts Corps held the end-of-the year Teaching Artist Meeting.

Our veteran master teaching artist Vicky Edmonds took us on an astonishing journey to deeply reflect on what teaching means for us.  Using her wizard technique of encouraging all of us to submerge into our soul to inundate our papers with words of hope and confidence on what we do. Thanks Vicky. Reader, please find below, some excerpts.”

“….teaching is like gardening sewing wildflowers, volunteers and heirlooms….” (Stephany Hazelrigg)

“ …. Is like the tide, sure as the pull of the moon….”    (Elizabeth Whitford)

“….my students demand that I become my better self sooner than I had dreamed….”  (Aaron Walker-Loud)

“….hidden light in the soul, getting out to the light of the sun….”  (Tomas Oliva)

“…the process of creating is like a metamorphosis…finally emerging to spread its

wings and shine…”   (Lana Sundberg)

“… you think nobody likes the meat. …when the class is over, everyone is hungry for more….” (Geoff Garza)

“…teaching is like eating a watermelon with a lot of seeds…” (Amber Flame)

“…teaching is like a nap in the spring… one finds renewal in both light and storm…”  (Sean O’Neill)

“….teaching is like Che Guevara walking unarmed into the storm…” (Daniel Pak)

“….burns and breaths things and in to its smallest and most basic

elements of truth…”  (Arturo Rodriguez)

“…my art is like …..erupting in red and purple, dark and yearning for light….” (Lara Davis)

“….celebration and love encouraged those children whose explored arts without fear the beauty (Eduardo Mendonça)

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