I knew from my first day as a high school teacher in 2002, that my life’s work would be the reward of making a difference in the lives of my students and helping them appreciate the art of others and the art they would create. Throughout my career, like many of my colleagues, I have felt the sting of being overlooked, under-appreciated, and taken for granted. Many educators would say that this lack of recognition is not important when contrasted with the rewards of teaching. However, the Pandemic of 2020 changed everything in and out of the classroom.
The “firsts” experienced by educators, because of the pandemic, was even more memorable and impactful than that first day in 2002 when I stood in front of my initial class of students. It was the first time risking my life at work; my first time risking my job for my life; my first time realizing that the nation looks at me as a daycare provider; and my first time considering the possibility that at times I may be more concerned for the physical health of my students than others making decisions about their fate and mine. One shocking revelation after the other, forced me to retreat into my artwork.
I am blessed to be an artist and have an outlet; some are not so lucky. This series deals with my frequently used metaphor of bridges to relationships and the journey that this pandemic has created for me and other educators.