A New School Year, and New Horizons

A Recent Watercolor Demo

A Recent Watercolor Demo

There is the new movement.  There always has been the new movement and there always will be the new movement.  It is strange that a thing which comes as regularly as clockwork should always be a surprise.

In new movements, the pendulum takes a great swing, charlatans crowd in, innocent apes follow, the masters make their successes and they make their mistakes as all pioneers must do.  It is necessary to pierce to the core to get at the the value of a movement and not be confused by its sensational exterior.

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

I acknowledge my silence over the past week as I’ve settled into the third week of a new school year with a host of new challenges.  I am teaching my first online course at a local university and am settling into a new high school environment (for me)–AVID.  Both of these enterprises are a challenge (I am not the quick-study that I was at the age of 25 or 30).  Both are offering unprecented rewards.  I wish I would have made the decision to do these tasks earlier in my educational career.  I am beginning to feel more now that my work actually matters.  And these two new venues are sending me in new directions though I am studying much of the same subject matter as in prior years.  I am happy to write that all classes are going very, very well–Advanced Placement Art History, Regular Art History, Philosophy, Logic and AVID.  I pause tonight, wondering what I ever did to receive a gift of such value.

I am posting the Henri quote (I am so loving the experience of re-reading this book) because I have moved far enough into the year where I no longer hear in the “ears” of my memory all the horse-hockey jargon that filled the air the week before school started, when teachers were forced to sit in meetings and listen to all the “wisdom” gathered from data and statistics, then handed down by “educators” on state and national levels.  Theories advanced by those who have never stood before students (or did so long ago that they have forgotten the reality of the day-to-day experience) always ring hollow to me.  This year was no different.  The new books and articles coming out are not filled with new things at all, just new words to encapsulate the same theories that didn’t work under the old words.  And yet, someone is making a pile of money copyrighting and circulating this recycled trash.

After twenty-five years, I still love the life of an educator.  I love looking into the students’ eyes daily.  I love their feedback, verbal and nonverbal.  And I am still astonished at their insight and zest to know more.  As for me, I still love learning, and live to know more.  Recently my watercolor activity has been curtailed because of all the reading and research pursued, and I have loved every late night of it, including tonight.  Since graduate school, my heart and mind have found joy in the enterprise of learning, and I’m grateful to have a job where I can pursue this without apology.  All I can hope is that should the day ever arrive when I am too old and tired to be inspired that I will do the students a favor and get out, hoping they can still remember the good years.  

Tomorrow I have AVID and Philosophy students to encounter.  I’m ready, and appreciative.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.




11 Responses to “A New School Year, and New Horizons”

  1. Botanic Bleu Says:

    Once again you inspire me. If only I had the stamina of my youth.



  2. lifeofawillow Says:

    you sound like a wonderful teacher. your students are lucky to have you.


  3. isabella Says:

    Your artwork is beautiful! 😉


  4. Sue Kuda Says:

    I love your sentiments and agree with your thoughts. After “retirement” I have gone into teaching again…..but this time with adults in primarily child care settings. I work for Child Care Aware of Missouri and I just read up on all the statistics of child abuse and neglect and shaken baby syndrome. It was a privilege to speak on the topic to individuals on such a matter of importance. It fulfills my need to “teach” , and also makes me feel I am performing a “greater good” by passing on such information. Once teaching is in your blood, it is there for good. Glad to be out of the public school setting, but also glad to still be teaching. I’ll be doing online teaching also….I may have to pick your brain!


    • davidtripp Says:

      It is wonderful to hear from you again, Sue, and congratulations on your post-retirement profession. I know your contribution is so appreciated, and am glad to know it fits you so well.


  5. Dian Darr Says:

    What beautiful words- one of my favorite journal entries of all that you have written. Once a person has experienced the true delight and wonder of teaching, it is almost impossible to replicate this feeling. I sometimes feel that I am lost on a journey trying to find a purpose to my life. I miss the classroom, and I will always remember all of our special conversations about the joy of being educators.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you for responding to me, Dian. I of course am still trying to find my way through all of this, but I do love the journey so, and have had abundant reward in the first 5 weeks of this school year. I hope I can continue to find good things to pursue.


  6. BJR Says:

    I love the artwork…love that house Also was inspired by your words. Teaching someone must be one of the most rewarding occupations. To make a difference in someone’s life must be awesome. I still remember some of my teachers…and what they shared with me, how they impressed me. Carry on!…your students will remember what you are sharing with them, too.

    BTW…I got around to emailing you what I promised. I kinda’ “shake and tremble”…but just remember, I am self-taught. 😉

    Have a good day!


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