One Teacher’s Passion about ART changed everything for my child

IMG_4982I dedicate this post to my son’s teacher – Christopher Stewart. I thank him – sincerely – for giving my son the gift of art.

My little guy had a rough start at school. For the first few years, he wouldn’t speak (at school) in front of any teacher. We worked with his teachers (excellent teachers!), and specialists and educated ourselves about selective mutism and how to help our little guy cope better with this anxiety. This year – his third grade- was different.

IMG_4980From the start, Mr. Stewart made it very clear that he was very passionate about art and insisted that children need to be exposed to art. In fact, he integrated his curriculum whenever possible with visual art. He arranged artist visits in the classroom, and took the class to the Hamilton Art Gallery on five separate trips where they toured the exhibits, and created art themselves inspired by a variety of genres. He found time to do teach students to think and reflect about art and he made the realize that every single creation was unique and special. He integrated current technologies such as digital cameras, and the Livescribe Pen to allow students to reflect and talk about their art and critique the art of others. As his year culminates to an end, Mr. Stewart invited the school community to an art show where he and his students stood proudly in front of their art.

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But this passion – this education that he gave my child extends far beyond the classroom. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine excitedly invited me over to show me the art that she had recently purchased. She was so proud. So thrilled. It was a fine piece of art. As I examined the print, trying to figure it out, my eight year old boy, stepped up and confidently blurted out, “Wow, it’s a Norval Morisseau, Mom!”. I didn’t know who that was. Then, a few days later, as we toured the famous Hamilton North End’s Art Crawl, over and over my son made connections to Matisse, Carrriere, Group of Seven, Norval. In awe, I watched him examine the art wondering what he was thinking. Then, one of the artists approached him and said, “Amazing – you know so much about art.”. My son, who had never spoken to a stranger before, looked at the artist and said, “My teacher showed me”. I was so proud. Thank You Mr. Stewart – You impacted our son in a great way.

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17 Replies to “One Teacher’s Passion about ART changed everything for my child”

  1. Wow! Great story to end my week. Thx for sharing! So nice to know there are folks who truly get what edu is about.

  2. What a great story! Really makes the case for not cutting out art in favor of covering “more important” curriculum. You never know what is going to resonate with one of your students.

  3. What a great story, Zoe. It reinforces the notion that not all learners are engaged and function the same way at the same time. Kudos need to be given over and over again to the teacher that recognized this and helped your son find his true passion.

    How many times, as educators, do we try to reach and fail. The true professional never gives up until they find that hook and reach every student.

    I hope that your son finds continued support in his educational career and that mom and dad are always willing to support and push him in his endeavours.

  4. What a wonderful story, Zoe! I love the impact that Christopher Stewart made on your son. I’m definitely ending my week smiling after reading this post.

    Aviva

  5. What a great story Zoe. We’re so proud of you Nate!!!! Yay to Mr. Stewart 🙂

  6. Thank goodness for the Mr. Stewarts of the world! I’m so glad to hear that your son has discovered his passion for art. He’ll be teaching you a lot about it in the future – how cool it that!

    Brenda

  7. Zoe – It is so nice to see a teacher as appreciated as Chris, go noticed by parents. To read about the passion he’s instilled in your little guy, it’s wonderful. Having taught your sons, I know the challenges faced with his selective mutism, and to hear he spoke to a stranger brought a tear to my eye. I’ll never forget when he first spoke to me in class, and the popsicle party that followed for that feat! 🙂

  8. I love that Mr. Stewart has such a great affinity with art and art education. This is such a great example of how powerful the arts can be for students (in particular, for your boy Zoe), and how they continue to prove to be a great conduit for critical thinking, confidence and appreciation building for so many people of all different ages. I hope to use this example of learning and life-changing experience through the arts in my research on creativity in children. Thanks for sharing Zoe! So happy for your son, amazing.

  9. Thanks for the kind words Zoe! It was a great year and I had so much fun exploring the arts with the kids. I never expected that it would have this much an impact, but you never know what to expect when you introduce new experiences to students. Brought a little tear to my eye when i read this. It’s nice to see all the positive comments. Hopefully I’ve inspired some people to use more art in their classrooms

  10. Geez, thanks for getting me all teary eyed on a Saturday morning Zoe! That is such a powerful story. I hope your Mr. Stewart gets to read it. You plant the seed, never knowing if or when it will sprout – this post is like a time-lapse photo of the leaves unfurling! Bravo! (Kudos to your boy, too, for his expertise and bravery!)

  11. Boy, I certainly wasn’t expecting the comments I got here, on this post. Funny – was a post that I wrote on a whim…honestly. I was so inpired after coming home from the Art Show – watching and listening to the children tell their parents about their art. They were all so proud. I had arrived a bit early to help the teacher hang the art, and again, the fact that he worked all day and was in the midst of report cards – he spend several hours, sticking tape on the back of art and posting literally hundreds of pieces to the gym walls. It just reminded me of how much teachers are willing to do to give students the passion for learning. We are so fortunate to be in a career where, in spite of some of the structures we abide by, we have enough atonomy to explore our passions within our jobs.
    Thank you so much for the comments on this post. I am certain that Christopher Stewart knows that the drive he has for teaching extends beyond the small story that I told. Now, if I can just get him to join my twitter PLN…..

  12. Hi Zoe, Thank you for sharing the grade 3 art show. It is wonderful to see how children blossom when given an opportunity to espress their learning through visual art. As an ESL teacher, I witnessed the growth of an ESL student in Chris’ class, and his work as a budding artist. keep it up Chris!

  13. I also thank you for sharing this Zoe. It’s such a nice illustration of how passion leads to knowledge which leads to confidence. It’s also great that your little guy found his passion in art. The creativity it nurtures is crucial to our kids growing up in a global world where change moves at light speed- and gets faster everyday. They’ll need flexible, creative minds to find solutions to problems that are complex, moving targets.

  14. Hey Robin, it has been too long that I’ve had a moment to update my blog and review some of my comments. Thank you, as usual for your support in your comments, and collaboration. It is fantastic to have such a great PLN.
    Robin, do you have teachers, specific teachers in your life that have also made such an impact? I’d love to also hear your story.
    Zoe

  15. Zoe, thanks so much for sharing this with me. As I begin my new adventure as arts consultant, I would love to reference your writing and, in particular, this entry. It not only speaks volumes about the arts as a powerful set of languages, but about how grounding in the arts can, quite literally, help us to raise our voices in new and exciting ways.

    Here’s an arts-related entry from my own writing that might make you smile!

    http://wp.me/p1853r-cJ

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