The Teacher-Artist Balance


The question arises often about how to find time to create one’s own art. And to that I respond, if it’s important to you, you will find the time. As I type that sentence, I can hear all the usual responses…I am so tired after work. I have to write lesson plans. I have little kids. I have to make this exemplar for my students. I have grading to do. There just isn’t time.

And again, I respond to these statements with, if it’s important to you, you will find the time. I have lesson plans. I have 2 young kids. I have grading. I’m exhausted after all day arting with my amazing high school artists. And yet I make art at least 3 days a week, if not daily. (And no, I don’t make exemplars, but I am a TAB teacher, so there are no exemplars to make.)

I decided when my daughter was a baby, 6 years ago, that art making was important to me and my mental well-being. It was also important to my role as an art teacher. If I am going to teach how to behave like an artist, then I needed to be an artist. When my daughter was little, I wore her while I created. As she grew older, I worked in the kitchen while both my kids slept. Now she is old enough to work along side of me. Sometimes my son does as well. My family knows how important creating is to me. My students do as well. I often show them my work or talk of my processes.

I do want to finish that I know not everyone’s top outlet is going to be creating. Some like to garden or read or exercise or fish or help protect turtles. And those things are wonderful. The art teachers I know who do these things don’t complain they don’t have time to create. But, that’s because they decided these things were important to them, so they find the time for them.

In the end, it’s your choice. I choose to spend my free time arting. It heals my soul and makes me a better teacher.

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