Vulnerability

July 17, 2017

Do you allow yourself to show your vulnerability in the work you create? Why or Why not?

 

     If I reveal myself as vulnerable, will I be misunderstood, labeled, or rejected. The fear of rejection is a powerful thing. When I first started teaching, I did not want my students to know that it was my first full time teaching job. I also did not want them to know my age which is older than most of their grandparents. I felt if they knew these two things, they might see me as an easy target. I knew that I needed to be strong and I needed to show my students who was boss.

 

     I didn’t want to be a one of those teachers that quit because they could not handle the stress. So, I worked as a substitute for a couple of years after I retired from the corporate world and found that I enjoyed working with students. I also learned they take advantage of every opportunity with a new teacher.

 

     I found that teaching took up so much of my time that little was left for my own art. I also heard other art teachers who said the same thing. I believe that to teach art, I must make art. To put myself out there every day, I decided to work first on a painting and leave it where the students could see the progress. I told them that I would teach them to paint if they wished. Middle school students are opinionated and will tell anyone that will listen, exactly what they think. It worked, much better than I had imagined. My art was critiqued daily by one hundred and fifty of the toughest judges in the world. Every day, they asked very pointed questions about the process or subject matter. Their questions and comments were welcomed. Sometimes, they were negative but, honest opinions. It made me think and my work got better. My students work improved. We all benefitted. I cannot think of anything that shows my vulnerability more than that.

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KENNETH CRAIG PRUITT