Monthly Archives: May 2012

Teachers Are Friends I Haven’t Met


ImageWill Rogers once stated “A stranger is just a friend I haven’t met yet.”  In working with thousands of teachers, I often feel that many of them are “friends I haven’t met.”  In teaching my university classes in Interpersonal Communication, I tell my students that we build relationships every day.  Most relationships never go beyond a simple hello and end with a goodbye. However, once in a while a connection is made and a stronger relationship is created.

So often I feel that I know many of the teachers who participate in our contest just from receiving their students entries and seeing the style and content that is sent in to us.  I also have the teachers who contact me via phone or email and make a closer connection.  Together, I work with these teachers as we combine our efforts to motivate and inspire student artists.  Many of these have become friends and what started with the sharing of student work transitioned into sharing of lives as we engage in a dialogue that shares the successes of their careers and sometimes a letter of finality when they share with me news of their retirement.

Yesterday I received a call from a teacher who has participated with our program for several years.  He is 70 this year and has three more years until he wants to retire.  He told me that our contest is the highpoint in his teaching and it gives such a feeling of accomplishment to his students when work is rewarded from someone other than a classroom teacher.

To my teacher friends that I have never met but build a relationship of respect for the work their students’ create, I thank you for aways sharing a bit of your lives.  Often a student or a teacher is seen as a record in our files, but when a connection is made, then a friendship is created.  I thank you.


Make Your Student Feel Like an Artist


ImageWhat makes a student feel like he or she is an artist? Often teachers assign an art project, it gets completed and it is sent home.  However, with one more step, students feel their work is valued and shared with the school and community.

ImageJudy Johnson and Jana Miller at Arendell Parrott Academy in Kinston, North Carolina have learned the value of a student art show.  Judy states “I have been doing this for 24 years and the excitement never pales.”  Each year they host a show that shows off their students’ work.

ImageJudy explains how the art is selected.  “Each year I save all the work that has gone up in the halls and the students bring in their pile (after a very confusing delivery system) to class and they SHOULD have their two strongest pieces on top.  I work with each one to determine if their decision is a sound one.  Sometimes we negotiate  and sometimes the class may get involved with a critique…even 1st grade.”  The art is then judged by an independent artist from the community.    The students feel like they have their own gallery and that their work is valued.  From the number of walls covered with art in the pictures, you can see Arendell Parrott Academy has a vibrant program.

In having judged thousands of students’ work I can testify that they are one of the top programs in the country that participate in our contest.  Their student work is a joy to judge.

Tom Worthen. Ph.D.