It’s that time of year again, when kids across the nation head back to school, full of hope and anticipation. Shiny hallways, uncluttered classrooms, anxious smiles - a perfect time for International Dot Day – a reminder that each and every day we have an opportunity to expand students’ horizons and encourage them to make their own unique mark on the world.
Reading The Dot always takes me back to my undergrad years as an elementary education major. With fear and trepidation, many of us faced our first art class since elementary school days. As all great teachers do, our professor set high expectations and then gently led us down the path of re-awakening our inner artist. A clay otter, paper sculpture Dopey, and wildflower sketch later, I rediscovered the power of translating what I could see in my mind’s eye into art, created through my own hands.
Fast forward to 2007, the Constructivist Celebration in Atlanta’s Botanical Garden, and I face my fears once again as Peter Reynolds challenges us to find our inner artist and join him at the “teacup” art table. As I moved from station to station that day, constructing creative technology projects, and avoiding the teacup station, I realized that time and art supplies were running out at the popular teacup table. Facing my fears and remembering that once before, as a young adult, I had found great satisfaction in making the mind, eye and hand connection, I mustered my courage, approached the table, gathered supplies, sketched and painted. Unsure, feeling inadequate to the task, I took the leap and put forth my best effort. Much to my surprise, Peter took ahold of my teacup as the paint was drying and showed it to my fellow artists at the table. After several oohs and ahs, I relaxed, feeling supported and quite proud of my little teacup. I had just experienced The Dot in real life!
Peter reminded me that day that as educators we have the amazing opportunity to awaken inside of our students their inner talents and skills, gently nudging, encouraging and celebrating with them small successes along the way. What an honor and responsibility!
Peter left his mark on me that sunny day in June ~ who will you leave your mark on this school year?