Balance. It is an amazing word that we all strive for. Maybe it is finding the balance between work and play. Perhaps it is finding the balance between responsibility and freedom. It could be delegation to some and letting go for others. As educators, we strive to find balance. It could be the balance between paperwork, lesson planning, grading and professional responsibilities while still being an effective teacher. It could be the the balance between doing what is comfortable in the classroom and taking new risks. It could simply be learning to say “no” when you just can’t do one more thing for someone else.
Over the past year, I have been fortunate enough to be across the hall from an amazing art teacher. While I have the experience of teaching middle school art for almost two decades, my colleague comes from a high school background full of not only studio experience, but also a background (and enthusiasm!) for technology. This is fresh and exciting! I love that I can talk about a new idea that integrates technology and my pARTner will help make it happen. More than that, I appreciate how we truly BALANCE each other out.
For every new idea, we are able to make sure it still meets our curricular intent. We debate, we rework. We question and test. We both want OUR art program to be successful and it’s a team effort to the finish line. When my pARTner and I brainstorm new ideas, lessons, and strategies, we are able to quickly prioritize, take charge based on our own individual strengths and make it happen. Sometimes the idea gets put on the shared “to do” list via Google Docs or sometimes we surprise one another with the updated rubric, all typed and ready to go (and shared of course in Google Drive!). Other times we just decide to toss it out the window and re-start. The most rewarding part? We truly are a team. We push each other. We challenge each other. We have big dreams and goals for our middle school art program.
Balance. It’s a powerful word. I have spent many years looking for it. I finally found it in the little art rooms, separated by a shared closet. Sometimes crazy is on one side and we escape to the other just to find a moment of peace. Sometimes we run full force through the closet in our “a-ha” moment. It’s being a cheerleader when we feel beat down. In the end, it all comes back to balance…the “yin to the yang”.