Work + School Actually Works

Work + School Actually Works

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So, here we are at the end of September, the month for me that is a double whammy. I started back at Columbia full-time the same exact day as the first day of school where I work. Like many graduate students in the MAT program, I am fortunate enough to find a job that ties in directly to education. Many in my cohort tutor students, work for charter schools, run extra-curricular programs at public schools and work for museums in education departments.

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Though, it does seem daunting to work and go to school simultaneously, the stress and energy is rewarding. It is such a great resource to coincide the life lessons you may have experienced during the day working with students and then apply those anecdotes directly to what you learn in class during the evening. It makes your understandings as an educator student come full circle and help you to really make sense of what you’re reading in a textbook and apply it to 21st century children.

What I like best about working and going to school is that every day–literally every day–I am reminded, supported and motivated by my choice of going to graduate school at Columbia. As a teacher’s assistant at a therapeutic school in the art department, I get to combine working with adolescents and sharing my love of art. Even better, I get to talk about and make art with students all day AND make a paycheck at the same time. This makes me excited to push forward and to soon have a classroom of my own as a certified teacher.
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But I haven’t mentioned the best part of teaching art to students, probably because it’s the hardest to describe. The best parts are the breakthroughs. The best part is when your excitement for a medium or artist is shared with someone else, and they catch that fever and excitement that you have. You feel as if you have this secret knowledge and you’re passing it on to the next generation. It’s really easy to get giddy inside, when you share and educate someone on an art piece that you admire so much and they adore it just the same. There is this momentous bonding moment in the room, when a bunch of rambunctious teenagers after lunch fall quiet in seconds as they all get to work, put pencil to paper, and start drawing. They are all so focused and proud to be part of a group, to discover drawing as another form of communication, and figure out how it expresses their thoughts, ideas and personalities. Though we live in a world with video games, incessant texting, and 3-D televisions, I still know that the future generations are going in the right direction when they can still be blown away by an art piece on a wall.