An Overdue Thanks to My Elementary Art Teacher

My sixth grade art teacher told me to pursue art, but I was more interested in math, science and sports. Sixth grade though was one of my life’s pivotal years; why? At the end of the year a boy received the “Analytical Math” award and I only received a “Math” award. I felt it was indicating a boy was better at thinking through a math problem. I won a math award without the word “analytical”. Hmmm… yet through grades 7 – 9, I had female math teachers. I continued my love of math while truly falling in love with science. Eventually I pursue teaching grades 7 – 9 science! Sports took center stage then in my young life too with basketball and tennis. Art was not anywhere in my head.

At college, I pursued science and sports, but needed two of three electives: theater, music and/or art. I completed the music requirement. After signing up for art I discovered I would need more than $100 worth of supplies. Yikes, I did not have the financial resources to make it happen, so I took theater. I did doodle and sketch at various times in my life… I played Varsity basketball and 4 years of field hockey which was an amazing experience!

Recently though, I remembered my sixth grade art teacher encouraging me to pursue art so many years ago. What is that ….60 years ago … and I am just now getting around to spending art time!?! My pandemic-created activity of birdwatching and bird photography prompted my interest in knowing what a bird looks. Thus my sketching began. Often receiving eBird info from Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology, I would see nature journaling, sketching, and watercolor and acrylic painting on-line classes being offered. So I took some of the classes and realized I was able to learn more about my own sketching and painting ability. 

I am unsure how long I will continue with my art work, but at this time I really hope to at least express my gratitude for the art teacher who did make a statement, so many years ago, for me to pursue art. As a retired educator, I know those statements from teacher to student are powerful. No doubt this art teacher said the same to others and they did indeed follow their art in a more timely manner than me …  yet that is the power of a teacher’s influence! So thank you to my sixth grade art teacher! Thank you to all educators encouraging others to do their best and/or to try new activities … those nudges can make huge differences in ones life.

Have you nudged anyone recently? It need not only be a school teacher as we are all teachers one way or another! So nudge someone you think could benefit from a nudge!

My sketch of an ovenbird as seen in a magazine.