Every once and a while an opportunity presents itself that is simply too good to be true. In these golden moments, when something we love collides with something we do, when we get to give back, even as we get to enjoy what we’re asked to do, magic happens. Last week that magic took the form of three intrepid art students who knocked on my office door and asked if I could help them draw a pirate.
My marvelous art teacher had warned me they were coming; she does short lessons each week to hone her students’ drawing skills, and after a few had mentioned to her that they’d seen me draw little cartoons on classroom whiteboards, she encouraged them to ask me to teach a mini-lesson that they could record and use in class.
So, with more than two decades of pirate cartooning in my history, I looked into the lens of the tablet they were using to record, and said: “Ahoy, young artists. I heard you might want to draw a pirate!”
I mention all this because I wonder how we can do even more to provide experiences like this to our students and colleagues. I lit up when I got to share a skill that has been a part of me since I started teaching. It was renewing and fun to be able to share something I like doing with an audience who seemed interested, or at least seemed to have a good time watching their tie wearing principal put pen to paper and come up with a swashbuckling cartoon.
All around me I see teachers and students who have talents as hidden and even more wonderful than being able to draw a fellow with an eye patch, and I wonder how we might do more to bring these talents out, share them, and celebrate each other together.
This post is less a pretty summary of something than the start of a brainstorming session. It’s something between an honest question and a call to action. It’s me, still smiling from my time with the art students, wishing we all had such an opportunity to share a part of who we are.
Can it happen in classes? Can it happen in clubs? Can it happen in activities at lunch or after school? Can it be celebrated on the walls or indoor marquee in our library? Can we blog, tweet, or put this on Facebook?
I’m not sure exactly what this looks like for everybody, but I know for me, at least last week, it wore an eye patch and had a peg leg.