Visual Journal Page 57: Teaching Rewards

Visual-Journal-Page-57-Teaching-Rewards Visual-Journal-Page-57-Teaching-Rewards

It was the end of my second year teaching, things were beginning to wrap up, and the feeling of relief was beginning to show as I finished grades, projects, and started shutting down my classroom for the summer.

All in all my second year teaching was a fairly good year. I built wonderful relationships with my students, hosted a successful art show, took 50 kids on a field trip, developed new projects, and ran a fairly successful art club, all with the help of my wonderful co-worker Morgan. After a hilly first year teaching, I welcomed the feeling of accomplishment at the end of my second year.

While I was happy to have wrapped up an overall successful second year, I still had doubts creeping around my brain. I still had some classroom management ups and downs, I was still unsure this is where I wanted to stay teaching, and I knew next year if I didn’t find a new job I would be all alone. One of the art positions was officially cut just a few weeks prior, and I knew the next year would bring additional stress and a lack of collaboration as I continued to try to grow the art program on my own.

With questions about my future lurking in every corner, I welcomed a distraction when a letter suddenly appeared in my box one morning. It began with a “congratulations”, always a nice way to start a sentence. The words that followed made me pause, re-read a couple of times, and question the legitimacy of the letter. I had been named a “top ten teacher” of 2010-2011 by one of my students. A top ten teacher? Me? A lowly art teacher, with little to do with college applications, GPAs, or standardized test scores was a top ten teacher? I was in shock.

As it turns out, every year in Newton county the top ten students of every school in the county select one teacher they felt supported, influenced, and helped them reach the coveted position of being in the top ten. My wonderful, talented student, Abigail, had selected me as her top teacher. As a recipient of this both Abigail and I were recognized at a banquet, with a delicious spread of food, nice speeches, and plaques. From the moment I received the letter, until the banquet, and every time I enter “top ten teacher” on my resume, I truly feel accomplished.

With all of the doubts and questions I had about my future; constantly wondering if I would get the job I recently interviewed for, if Morgan could stay if I left, what  next year would look like going it alone, this was a welcome distraction. The recognition I received from my student and the county was enough to get me over the hump, to make it seem okay if I stayed another year at that school. The award made me feel accomplished, it was confirmation that I was dong something right, and I could do this on my own if need be.

Thank you Abigail for not only selecting me out of the many wonderful teachers you could have chosen, but for also giving me the confidence to continue on another year.


  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Magazine images
  • Masking tape
  • Letter of recognition
  • Packaging tape
  • Water


For this visual journal page I knew I wanted to put the focus on the letter. I decided fairly quickly to do a tape transfer of the letter, to create a more interesting look than simply gluing the letter directly into my book. I did worry about ruining the letter and tape transfer, considering it was the only copy I had, but I decided to continue on anyways.

Before I started on the tape transfer I opted to create a more solid background. I found interesting colors and patterns in magazines, ripped them out, and began layering them on the right side of my book. After playing around with the background I realized it was still too busy for the thin, black text to show up on once I did my tape transfer. I needed a more neutral background under the text in order to read it. After considering my options I decided to use masking tape. I like the pattern it created when it was layered, and it had a nice, light brown color. I intermixed the magazine strips and masking tape until I was satisfied with the overall look.

Once my background was complete I began working on the tape transfer. I used packaging tape to carefully tape on top of the letter, rubbed the back to make sure the ink stuck to the tape, and rinsed it in water and rubbed the paper until nothing was left but the black ink of the text. Once the tape dried I carefully stuck it on top of the background to complete the page. To read more in depth instructions on how to create a tape transfer check out my how to here.


In your next visual journal page include a text tape transfer somewhere in your collage.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post and check out my blog! Feel free to e-mail me or comment below with questions or comments. Help me spread the word about my blog by sharing with others, I couldn’t do it without you!


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