This has been a long week and a crazy one too! It always seems to be that way, the last week of the term always makes me feel like I am working in a 3 ring circus! Everyone is tired, their stress levels are raised, their tempers are shorter. You never think you are going to catch your breath, but somehow you make it to Friday, bleary eyed, happy you have survived the week and simply ready to just flop down and slowly exhale.

I have had one of those weeks. I love the daily challenges of my job. I never fully know what to expect when I come through the gates in the morning, as my day consistently changes from one to the next.

I have been asked to run a session tomorrow that has been offered to students who need a bit of extra help. So, we will be working together to first make photograms out of objects I will be giving them and secondly to make a photogram from a piece of work they will collage based on 3 artists and a piece of poetry (an old favorite of mine by Robert Frost).

A few students needed to be chased up today, to find out if they would be attending tomorrow. I stood next to my colleague as he spoke to one student in particular and I was taken back by this young student’s attitude. I could only think of myself for a moment. I have given so much to this project, given a great deal of my personal time to make and create all the necessary ingredients to this pie, but, this student knew none of that, this student simply scoffed. Attending this session was the last thing he wanted to do.

I shook it off, because I thought, if you come tomorrow, I will prove you wrong! I will show you this is worth your while and if you don’t come, well then you are going to miss out on something that could make a difference to you, personally. You might even learn something about yourself you weren’t aware of.

I keep an open mind with the students, for I never let myself forget that like myself they have a life outside of those gates and for some it is a far from easy life. I get along with the students, it is very rare that I ever have any issues, because I have made it known from the beginning the rules of my Cupboard. One in particular is, that I do not care what others think of you outside of my door, I form my own opinion and you have a clean slate with me when you cross my threshold, unless you do something to tarnish it. I treat you with respect and I expect that in return.

I spoke to Mr. Michie about this on the way home, he smiled at me, with a slightly bemused expression. He has eons of teaching experience over me and you know what I love about him? He isn’t jaded as others are, he heard what I was saying, he took it in his stride, he told me the likelihood of the situation, but he hoped for all the best tomorrow.

That is all we need isn’t it? A little encouragement! I have more students who have been added to my list, I don’t know what numbers I will actually walk in to tomorrow, but if I can make a difference to one student, then I have done what I have set out to do. In saying all of this, my situation earlier today has still preyed on my mind.

I flipped my shoes off when we got home, sat on the sofa and grabbed my laptop to catch up on a few things, while Mr. Michie got ready for a meeting. I clicked to my Google Reader account first and slowly began to go through the posts awaiting me. There was a post from SwissMiss that focused on Austin Kleon’s book Steal like an Artist, with a picture capturing a page from his book (see below):

This is what I needed to see today! That is it! That is what we are here to do! DO GOOD WORK AND SHARE IT WITH PEOPLE! It doesn’t matter what your work is, take pride in it, be the glow that lights the flames around you. This made me feel lighter.

After this, I moved on to catching up with my e-mail and was greeted with another piece of happiness in the form of a note. A letter awaited me from someone who had recently come across my blog, they had even been brave enough to go back to the beginning and read through all of my ramblings.

In reading her words, I thought back over my day. Her words of kindness erased the words I had heard of ugliness today. Her words about my blog lifted me like a pink balloon. Her honesty about herself, to me, a perfect stranger, again brought me back to reflecting on my day.

She shared with me that she has been treated unkindly and made fun of, for sharing with a few people that she likes to make crafts. Do some of us ever grow up? Are will still living in High School as if we have never left? Have we not moved on to being more accepting of others?

To this young woman, I want to say to you, THANK YOU! From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your kind words today and for the sunshine you say I give you every day, know that your words have given that to me in return. Do not let others inhibit you, for often those that lash out the most, are the ones who are truly jealous of what you are. For you have found your place and they have not.

Continue to do what makes you happy, find that one thing every day that allows you some peace of mind and DO GOOD WORK AND SHARE IT WITH OTHERS! For the path you are on right now, is where you are meant to be. Maybe this journey isn’t completely about you, maybe you need to be on this journey so your path crosses another’s and gives them the advice, the encouragement, the kind words, that they so need to hear.

I came home with a bit of a rain cloud over my head today and you have shown me the silver lining. So, today, this post is FOR YOU! You know who you are.

Jennifer x

(Image found at SwissMiss)