Sunday, February 21, 2010

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Holy wow, I’ve been whiny lately!

Looking back over the past week or so, I realized that I’ve pretty much been detailing how much stuff I have going on (poor me!) or whining about how tired I’ve been. In all fairness, it has been a busy month (yeah, I know, I’ve already said…). It’s coming to a close, though, so I’m feeling much better.

I spent all day—and I do mean all day—at the competition yesterday. I only took five of my students, but Sister Mary G. took (I think) 49. We had a full crew in attendance. It was super crazy. Fortunately, my kids didn’t go in until the last hour of judging, so they were able to talk to the other kids who had already been in to their judges and could have kind of an idea of what to expect. Of my five kids and the eight pieces they brought between them, four students (and five artworks) advanced from the Regional judging to the Area judging. Of those five artworks, one is now going to the State competition held in Houston in April!

This is the second time I’ve had a student go to the State VASE contest. The first time, the student was pretty self motivated and didn’t really ask for (or need, really) any help with the piece. The biggest difference between her and the other kids I took that year (and most years, honestly) is that she wasn’t happy with the first thing she put on the paper and so she did it over. And then she did it over again. She ended up redoing the piece three or four times and you could tell that it had lots of thought and effort built into it. Comparatively, most of my students do something pretty cool but, frankly, not very well thought out. They have a lot of ‘happy accidents’ and tend to just ‘go with it.’ Alas, the judges in this contest are not impressed with the Dada train of thinking and want to see more planning and intentional marks.

Anyhoo, with this first girl, she was incredibly directed. She had a plan and she made it work. With this crew of kids that I took this year, I pushed them harder in their works than I have ever done. I made them have a plan. Every time they came to me to say that they were done, I told them to go back and look at it again. And again. And again. Right up to the wire, I told them to think about it again.

I know it’s silly and stupid, but I feel like I actually earned the right to say that I ‘coached’ this girl to the State level as opposed to the girl I took before who I merely ‘sponsored.’ I always felt that, with Girl #1, I had to tack on a disclaimer when telling people that I had had a student go to the State contest.

In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. I know that I’m not actually directly involved at all—the student made all the critical decisions, painted all the brush strokes, drew all the lines, etc. that got the piece chosen. It doesn’t matter if I gave my opinion and suggestions along the way.

But deep down, it feels really good to have had a few good ideas to suggest to her.

I’m really proud of her.

I’m really proud of myself.

So, whining. Month is almost over. Was so tired and sick last night (think the debauchery of a Mexican food lunch was too much for me), that I threw up. Could have been the excitement. Not sure. Either way, was kind of a crappy way to end the day. But had lots of rest and am feeling about 80% today. I’ve got Laura’s birthday party next Saturday (holy crap! She’s ONE?!? WTF?!?), Harrison’s karate tournament next Sunday and then I’m done with running. I’m taking Laura’s birthday off to chill and play with her, which I think will be pretty cool. I plan on puttering around in the garden for the next few weeks, sewing in my spare time and just enjoying the kids. My month of stress is all but done and I’m keeping it that way.

So, now off to rest before another week. Good stuff coming up—two-point perspective in class, t-shirt sewing for Harrison, maybe some down time with hubby.

Maybe some sleep?

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