Friday Two Cents: Washing Off My Soul

 ‘When you create art, the world has to wait.’ Will Smith

This past week was a rather busy one for me, working with several hundred students as a music, literacy, drama and kindergarten teacher.  I love being with all the students yet I find myself mentally and physically exhausted.  I sometimes have to remind myself that as a supply teacher, unlike a classroom teacher, I have to deal with several hundred different children over the span of a week.  A classroom teacher interacts and deals with 20 – 35 students daily, where I sometimes have to interact with 18 – 20 different classes averaging 25 students each.  That’s 500 different people all with their own unique personalities.  When you think about it from that point of view, you can begin to understand why there are times I find myself day-dreaming of going away on a vacation.  

Lately though, I have been thinking of vacations where the soul purpose is to express myself artistically.  I find that I need to have that calming presence of art to relax me.  I don’t think anyone will ever understand the joy I take in creating things with paints and pencils.  To have a blank piece of paper or canvas transform into a comic book character, a medieval battle or a ballerina. 

For me I simply think of something in my imagination and I put pencil to paper or paint to canvas.  It could take me hours, days or weeks but doing the art is what gives me joy.  I think more than anything else that is what I enjoy the most.  Not the finished product but the process or challenge of creating it.  This is what allows me to let go of the world around me and create new ones.  

So for now I will push through and prepare for the vacation I will be going on soon.  For as Pablo Picasso once said …

‘The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.’ Pablo Picasso 

I think I have collected enough dust on my soul.  

Comic Strips: You’ll Be Next

 Being a supply teacher and an artist, I sometimes have the opportunity to combine my passions.  Creating my comic strip entitled The Craziest Things is one of them.  The genesis of this comic strip came from the situations I have observed from the students.  I thought it would be great to create a comic strip based on those situations and thus The Craziest Things was born.  

I use many different themes to inspire me to create the comic. Some include the difference in the generations or the use of technology in the classroom compared to their parents. Other times I use situations that inspire me from the real world and I then simply create a scene.  Yet the majority of my inspiration comes from real life situations that I experience with the students.  

October’s comic focus on Halloween.  In many schools they celebrate Halloween in different ways.  Most of the times the students dress up and have a little party in their classroom.  Many of the teachers also get into the spirit and decorate their class or the door.  Yet what would happen if the decorating went to a whole new level.  

  I hope you enjoy October’s The Craziest Things: You’ll Be Next.

Friday Two Cents: Comic Strips: Being Prepared

Being a supply teacher and an artist, I sometimes have the opportunity to combine my passions.  Creating my comic strip entitled The Craziest Things is one of them.  The genesis of this comic strip came from the situations I have observed from the students.  I thought it would be great to create a comic strip based on those situations and thus The Craziest Things was born.  

This is my tenth year creating my comic strip and in that time I use many different themes to inspire me in creating it. Some include the differences in the generations or the use of technology in the classroom compared to their parents. Other times I use situations that inspire me from the real world and I then simply create a scene.  Yet the majority of my inspiration comes from real life situations that I experience with the students.  

This month centres on the return to school after the summer break. Yes that amazing time when you have to go back to the salt mines, I mean classroom and begin a fresh new year of learning and discovery.  

However with the start of the school year comes the realization that you need to resupply and get ready for any contingency.  As a supply teacher I have seen many different things that even to this day surprise me. Therefore I thought of a funny way to express a rising trend in the school system.  Instead of telling you about it I’ll let you read the comic for yourself.  

I hope you enjoy September’s The Craziest Things: Being Prepared.

Comic Strips: School’s Out For Summer

In Canada the end of the school year is at the end of June.  Both students and teachers look forward to a two-month summer break to relax and recharge for the upcoming year.  Interestingly I read a study that shows that teachers energy level for the school year is around 100% but as the school year moves on those energy levels slowly go down steadily until June.  The study continues to state that the teacher’s energy levels return to optimal in September.  It takes two months for people to recover from the previous school year.  No wonder people look forward to the break.  

This month’s comic plays on the idea that not only do students look forward to the break but so do teachers.  Instead of telling you about the comic I’ll simply let you enjoy it on your own. 

I hope you enjoy June’s The Craziest Things: School’s Out For Summer.

Comic Strips: The Fundamentals

If you ask any of the students I have taught, what is my favourite sport, their response would undoubtedly be baseball. Therefore it makes sense to put in an instalment or two centred one the students and the game.  

I played baseball as a child and as an adult so whenever I can I love to help out with school softball teams (boys and girls). As a supply teacher I cannot be an official coach but that’s fine with me.  I find I have a tremendous amount of enjoy helping the students develop their love for the game.  People asked me, “Don’t you want to be seen as a coach?  Get the recognition?”  I say no, I am not here to get recognition.  I simply want to help the students learn the game and more importantly have fun doing so.  

That’s where this comic came from.  I help wherever I can and when I do it is usually with the fundamentals.  Pitching, throwing or batting. This situation came out of helping some students and I thought of this scene as a “What if” scenario.  And the rest as they say is history.  

I hope you enjoy May’s The Craziest Things: The Fundamentals.

Comic Strips: Social Justice

Definition:  social justice        noun [mass noun] 

justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society: individuality gives way to the struggle for social justice.

In every class we teachers try and instil a sense of social justice in the students with their friends, peers and people outside the school.  It is not an easy task yet I find the effort is necessary to help encourage them to become a responsible member of society.  

I find that in the older grades many of the students take this sense of social justice to heart.  Yet there have been times when they present a situation where I have to either; take a step back and think really hard about what they said or just laugh out loud.  A situation did happen to me that was very similar to this comic.  Instead of spoiling the comic, I will simply let you read it.  

I hope you enjoy April’sThe Craziest Things: Social Justice.

Comic Strips: I Don’t Wanna!!

With the arrival of March comes March Break or as some call it, Spring Break.  Students, parents and teaches are looking forward to the start of March Break on Friday this week.  With this in mind, I allowed my mind to wander to some of the situations I have seen and lived, that I want to bring to life in The Craziest Things.  

March Break is a time many look forward to. Not only students need a break but the teachers as well.  Everyone looks forward to the time away from the busy classroom.  Yet through the years many don’t want to return.  Then I thought of something and that is when this month’s comic sprang to life. 

I hope you enjoy March’s The Craziest Things: I Don’t Wanna!!

Comic Strips: Hpy Valentine’s Day?

February the month when many search their heart to express how they feel about that someone special.  Yet in this digital world are we getting away with expressing ourselves only through a LED screen?  Do we truly know how to express ourselves without our phones?  With this in mind, it gave me plenty of material to think about for this month’s The Craziest Things.  

In many cases, people cannot live without their phones.  They call, text, surf and play endless games with it.  But has our obsession with our phones come to the point when it replaces our face-to-face interaction with others. How far with this go?  Only time will tell.  

I hope you enjoy February’s The Craziest Things: Hpy Valentine’s Day?

February The Craziest Things

Friday Two Cents: Summer Vacation Part 5: Washing The Dust From My Soul




Usually a vacation is when you go off somewhere to relax and forget the struggles of the daily grind. Yet this summer I decided to go somewhere and improve myself and take an additional qualification (AQ) course. An AQ course helps teachers learn new skills that they can bring into the classroom. From math, language and science to the arts.

The AQ course I am taking is entitled Visual Arts, Part 1. It helps teachers with the foundations of visual arts from elements and principles of design to activities they can bring back to the classroom that is based around the Ontario curriculum for the Arts. I have always been interested in all art forms. Music, drama, dance, and the visual arts, yet I particularly enjoy the visual arts.
Straight from the Curriculum document;
‘The visual arts include a broad range of forms, genres, and styles that include the traditional arts of drawing, painting, sculpting, printmaking, architecture, and photography, as well as commercial art, traditional and fine crafts, industrial design, performance art, and electronic and media arts.’ ((2009), The Ontario Curriculum: Grades 1-8. The Arts.)
As you can imagine it covers a wide spectrum of art forms, all of which I enjoy. There is a lot to cover in the course but it is very fulfilling. So I choose to make this journey into the art world a part of my vacation. The other benefit is that I am taking the course in a wonderfully beautiful small city in southern Ontario, Guelph. I have my undergrad from the University of Guelph and I have always enjoyed going to Guelph since my parents took me as a child. Now I have the opportunity to explore and experience the rich artist atmosphere the city has to offer.
I have been busy with my studies and I have not been able to take in too much but this city has inspired me to draw and create. I also went on an art galley tour with the professor and other teachers in Guelph. I had no idea that Guelph is full of artists. I was so engrossed with the tour I did not take any photos, a situation I will remedy the next week.
There have been a lot of art discovery this week and I cannot post all of it here, yet I will post some photos of some of the activities I did that inspired me to create. These included a few elements of design such as line, colour, shapes and texture. See if you can figure them out.


Yet I believe that the most important lesson I learned comes from what Picasso once said about art.
‘The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.’ Pablo Picasso
After a week of art my soul is refreshed and ready for the next day.
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