Tag: high school teacher

An Art Teacher Journey: My Last Day of School

A picture of my first day of school and last day of school.

I recently made a major life change. Last fall, I decided the 2020-2021 school year would be my last year in the classroom. After kindergarten through senior year of high school, undergrad, graduate school, and twelve years as an art teacher, on May 21, 2021, I reached my last day of school.

Pictures of one of my classrooms

I taught for 12 years, at two schools, in four different classrooms. I taught everything from Introduction to Art to Ceramics & Sculpture to AP Art and so many things in between. I had classes packed in at 35 kids per class and classes with 5. I taught with zero budget and with a dream budget. I may not have loved every minute of it, but I loved most of it. Coming to the decision to quit was not easy and it weighed heavily on me, but looking back I know it was the right choice.

Updating a desk area in my classroom.

STEPPING BACK

After teaching virtually for the second half of the 2020 semester, moving to another classroom over the summer, and adjusting to teaching in a hybrid model, exhausted was an understatement. Last year was the second hardest year of my career (check out my post here on teaching tips for hybrid mode and for a letter to first-year teachers, my hardest year as a teacher). Although I had considered it for a couple of years, a few weeks into the school year, the voice saying it was time for a break had grown to an exigent level.

In September 2020, just six weeks into the school year, I began talking with my close coworkers and department chair about the possibility of me leaving. By October I had officially put in my resignation for the end of the school year. By December my job was posted, by January art teacher candidates were coming in for interviews. By February they had my replacement, an amazing artist and art teacher who I know will take care of my babies.

I cried in 3/4 of my sit-down meetings about my resignation. I loved my job. I loved my school. I loved my coworkers. I loved my students. I loved my classroom. I loved being an art teacher. So why was I choosing to leave it all behind?

For me, what it came down to was an imbalance in my life. For eight years I had been building a small business creating lesson plans, curriculums, handouts, and more for teachers and art teachers. I sold products through Teachers Pay Teachers and my blog. I began spending more evenings developing my products, which lead to working on weekends. I had babies, grew my family, and never faltered from building my business. I never dreamed it could become a full-time gig, but starting a few years ago it had the potential.

Although I could have stopped teaching earlier, I never felt the desire like I did last year. Teaching in a pandemic crushed my teacher’s soul. It sucked the life out of me until I could no longer put in the hours I needed to for my business outside of school. I no longer had the energy to be the best mom or wife I could be. I felt like I was drowning and something had to give. But what would give?

Do I choose the career I worked so hard for, the career I studied for and loved, or do I choose the business I made from the ground up, that was so successful and rewarding?

When it came down to it, the decision was easy, I chose to bet on me.

My home office.

BEING SELFISH IS OKAY

I felt incredibly selfish and guilty quitting my job. I hate quitting. I felt like I owed them so much for all that my job had given me over the years, but the truth was, I didn’t owe them anything. I don’t owe anyone anything. When I imagined my ideal day it involved dropping my kids off at school, drinking coffee on my front porch, quality time with my husband, making art when I wanted to, creating the products I have come to love creating for other art teachers.

So I chose me.

I moved out of my massive art classroom and into my tiny dormer window art nook. I make demo videos shoved in a corner and it’s a hot mess, but I love it. I type lesson plans sitting in my bed, next to my puppies, with Harry Potter and The Office on loop in the background. I have lunch dates with my work-from-home husband. I get to respond to questions and requests from art teachers in a timely manner.

I am fairly sure I have the best job ever. I have graduated to being a support for art teachers and all teachers. I can now help the ones in the job I still love and respect. I can still be an educator from a distance by supporting those still in the trenches. Those who are doing the most important work, inspiring, educating, and connecting with kids.

A picture of me on my 35th birthday.

THIS IS 35

This month I turned 35. I have never felt better. I have a happy family, a successful business, a recently renovated home. I get to chose what I want to do every day. I am a better parent, wife, and animal mama because I am also taking care of me. I think this year is destined to be one of my happiest, and I can’t wait to see what new opportunities may come in my new career path. I’m all in on myself, and I am confident this is a gamble I will win.

Thanks for coming along on this wild ride with me! If you want to keep up with my day-to-day life, check me out on Instagram. Check out my TPT shop to see the products that have allowed me to quit my day job (and check out my blog shop, which I hope to polish up and add to this year). Thanks for stopping by!

New Teaching Resources + TPT Winter Sale

I can’t believe it is already the second month of 2020… But here we are with the first TPT sale of the new year, starting February 4th and running through February 5th. My entire store will be 25 % off; this is the lowest my products are ever marked down.

My product development always slows down as school starts to ramp up. But, I have still managed to get a number of new lessons put together between the last sale day and now. Continue reading to learn about all my new items or stop here and start shopping. Don’t forget to use the code FEBSALE at checkout for the full 25% off!

PHOTOGRAPHY RESEARCH PROJECT

After months of work I finally wrapped up the last of my photography projects to complete my second photo bundle. This assignment is second to last in the curriculum and challenges students to find and research modern photographers who inspire them. They are then tasked with capturing a photograph in the style of the photographer and pushed to test their Photoshop abilities by editing one of the photographer’s original images. Check it out here.

IMAGE TRANSFER HOW TO

The final project of the semester for photography is creating an image transfer of a photograph captured by the students. The base material can vary from wood to canvas, and it can have a huge impact on the overall feel of the final product. This project walks teachers and students through the process of successfully transferring a printed photograph to a different surface. Complete with handouts, PowerPoint, critique, and more. Check it out here.

PHOTO CURRICULUM – EVERYTHING YOU NEED

It felt amazing to wrap up my second photography curriculum. This includes everything you need to teach for an entire semester. Every handout, critique sheet, rubric, lesson plan, PowerPoint is included so you don’t have to plan a single day, other than pushing print on your computer. This includes 12 photography based projects, 11 critiques, 11 artist research assignments, a photographer research assignment, semester timeline, how to set up a Google Classroom and using Adobe Spark for assignment submission, and more. Check it out here.

TWO CURRICULUMS IN ONE

With the completion of my Photo II curriculum came the bundling of my Intro to Photography and Photo II curriculums. Now you can get both semester long curriculums for a discounted price. This includes everything you need to teach for an entire year of DSLR photography. There are 30 photography projects included in this curriculum pack. Check it out here.

BOOKBINDING PROJECT

I tested out a new bookbinding process, perfect bound sketchbook, to create an easy and beautiful sketchbook. The materials are cheap and the end product looks like a book you could purchase from a store. The project can be found here and this has also been added to my bookbinding bundle, if you want a variety of techniques to teach in your classes. The bookbinding bundle includes 7 different sketchbook projects.

BRANDING YOURSELF AND SHARING YOUR WORK

I am thrilled to finally share my Free Art Friday project with the art teaching community. I have been obsessed with the Free Art Friday movement for years; and I began incorporating free art based projects in my classroom last year. It has been a huge hit with my students and is a great way to put a spotlight on all the things we do in the art room. This is perfect for advanced level high school students or it can be adapted for middle school students. Read more about it here.

ARTIST INSPIRED PRINTABLE POSTERS

I am finally wrapping up my most recent project, an artist inspired alphabet. Each letter includes a different artist, who shares the letter in their first or last name. The posters come in two different styles and three different sizes, 26 different artists are included. You can easily print these out and display them for littles in an elementary setting or use them to spell out words in your secondary art room. Check out my first pack here.

ARTIST ALPHABET PACK #2

I just posted my second alphabet artist pack, with 26 more artists included. It was too difficult to select just 26, so it inspired me to create three different versions of my alphabet posters. The third version will be posted tonight and the three packs will be bundled soon at a discounted price. Be sure to follow my TPT store to receive updates when new products hit my shop.

Make sure you visit a Teachers Pay Teachers store between February 4th and 5th to get amazing products at a discounted price and help support other educators. Use the code FEBSALE at checkout!

Don’t forget to also check out my blog shop here. I will also be running a 25% off sale this week, use the code FEBSALE, it expires on Friday. If you want a product that you don’t see on my blog shop but is on my TPT, please reach out and I will set you up whitneywpanetta@gmail.com. Happy shopping!

Until next time I will be dreaming of my recent trip to the Bahamas to celebrate dear friends who will be tying the knot in April. Follow me on TPT, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for updates on all my art and art teacherin’. Thanks for stopping by!

Visual journal page 36: The Wedding Ring Incident

A visual journal page about my husband accidentally being buried in the backyard.

This visual journal page is about the day my husband buried his wedding ring.

I have heard many ways people have lost their wedding rings. Leaving it on the bathroom sink and it slipping down the drain, pulling it off in a pair of gloves and accidentally throwing it away. But, until my own personal experience, I had never heard of someone losing their ring because they accidentally buried it.

Yes, my husband buried the physical representation of our eternal love in our backyard.

My husband is a fidgeter. He drums his fingers on any flat surface, wiggles his foot, he is in constant motion. One of his favorite fidgeting pastimes is taking off his ring and spinning it on table tops. So naturally, one afternoon when he suddenly couldn’t find his ring, my assumption was he took it off and left it somewhere without realizing it.

We walked through his day, where he had been, what he did, when he last remembered having his ring. We searched the house from top to bottom, under furniture, on tables tops, in every nook and cranny. We came up empty handed.

When I decided it was time to throw in the towel, it hit Nick. He spent all morning planting plants in the backyard, surely it fell off while he was doing yard work. I was skeptical it could simply fall off, but Nick was determined. He spent the remainder of the evening searching over our not small backyard.

The next day I assumed it was time to start thinking about a replacement, while Nick decided it was time to rent a metal detector. He spent the entire next day combing the yard with headphones on, detector to the ground, listening for beeps and digging to find what was detected.

Let me give you some context.

Our adorable Atlanta bungalow was built in 1940. In it’s hey-day East Lake was a happening Atlanta neighborhood. A beautiful lake attracted Atlantians as a vacation spot and break from city life in the late 1800’s. But, as the years passed civil rights swept the nation and white flight began happening in many cities. This caused East Lake’s previous wealthy inhabitants to leave, attracting lower income residents, and creating the racial divide that honestly still persists today. The beautiful lake that once was a public attraction was purchased, gated off, and reserved only for wealthy golfers to play the course that now surrounds it. Like most Atlanta neighborhoods, East Lake became crime ridden, home owners couldn’t afford to keep up their houses, and things took a turn for the worse. However, the last 15 years has brought new life to these Atlanta homes with people moving back into the city who are able to rehab formerly run down homes. This is wonderful for our area, but also puts our older homeowners at risk with rising property taxes. But, that is a whole separate tangent that you don’t want me to get started on.

All of this brings me to the fact that from the 1960’s until we purchased the house, our backyard was essentially a trash dump. At a glance you wouldn’t think this. But over the years the rain, wind, and other elements would slowly push the junk just under the top soil. The amount of glass we have found, and still find, over the 8 and a half years we have lived in our house is astonishing. So, as my hopeful hub was searching for his wedding ring every few inches he instead found a random piece of rusted metal, an old oil can, a random tin, an empty soda can.

Instead of spending the day searching for his ring, it turned into a day where he uncovered every piece of trash buried in the dirt for the past sixty years. In defeat he returned the metal detector and claimed his ring a lost cause.

At the end of the day he walked out back one last time. He admired a row of newly planted bushes and noticed one bush was just a few inches out of line. He reached down and pulled the plant up in order to replant it in line, and as he describes it, his ring popped out of the ground as the plant came out, as if it were a coin in a video game.

A day of searching and the use of a high tech device had failed him. What paid off in the end was his OCD.

SUPPLIES:

  • Visual journal book
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Old book pages
  • Heavier white paper
  • Watercolors
  • Paint brushes
  • Water
  • Colored pencils

HOW TO:

When it came time to create this visual journal page I was excited because I already had a vision in mind. I knew I wanted to emphasize the bush that ate Nick’s ring, and planned all along to create it in watercolor. Once I had an idea for that, I began on the background.

I wanted an earthy look, so I pulled old book pages that had a variety of page colors. I ripped them in stripes to create a softer look, and glued them down in vertical lines. Once I had the background set I sketched out the bush shape with pencil before I started with the watercolor.

I wanted the leaves to be very bright so I used the wet on wet watercolor technique. I first filled the leaf shapes in with water, then loaded green on my brush before adding it to the water filled leaf shapes. When you add watercolor pigment to water, it will fill the water shape. As long as the area around the shape is dry, it typically won’t extend beyond the limits of the water. Once I had a green base layer I introduced a dark blue at the very edge of each leaf to create a shadow.

I repeated the wet on wet technique with the bark on the trunk and roots, although I used less water so the colors wouldn’t blend as much. To fill in the dirt I simply painted dots all around the bush roots, using different shades of brown.

I really wanted the ring to stand out, since it is the focus of the story, so I decided to draw it out with colored pencil, so the material would contrast against everything else. I drew it on a separate sheet of paper, filled it in with colored pencil, then cut it out and glued it to the page. I cut sections of the ring out to show the roots painted on the page to make it appear as though the ring was overlapped by the roots.

To add the words I wanted to create a space that made sense with the rest of the image, so I drew out and painted a scroll like bar. I painted the same texture at the end of the roll as the bark on the bush, to look like it was being pulled out of the trunk of the bush. I wrote the words using a thin paintbrush and watercolor.

Through the years this page has held it’s spot as one of my favorite visual journal pages I have created. I am very happy with the final image and the story behind it is one I will never forget.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page about a piece of jewelry. It can be a sentimental piece, the loss of a piece, or the desire for something. Have fun and good luck!

Interested in more visual journal stories, tips, and how tos? Check out my visual journal blog page here and my visual journal bundle on TPT here. Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Help spread the word and get involved with visual journaling by following, sharing, and commenting!