With eyes shut

With eyes shut

One of my students is teaching himself to throw pots while blindfolded. Actually, all of the teaching has already happened. The porcelain bowls he has been throwing are as lovely as anything made with full vision – soft, fluid, and graceful. He ripped a soft old...
Testing, Failing, and Empathy

Testing, Failing, and Empathy

When I became aware of anything besides my laptop screen, the first thing I noticed was that my hands were shaking. I suppose my fingers had been steady enough for keystrokes, letters into words into sentences. But my trembling hands symbolized how unsure I felt that...
College as a Verb

College as a Verb

A wise-beyond-her-years high school junior wrote recently to ask for my perspective on whether liberal arts schools or art colleges were “better” for someone who wants to major in art.  She’s a serious student and a talented, hardworking artist. It has been a joy to...
Preludes and Fanfare

Preludes and Fanfare

It is an early August evening in northern Michigan. When I first arrived at Interlochen seven weeks ago, the daylight stretched until after 10 p.m, and we watched late-night campfire sparks before midnight caught up with me. Now the evenings have a chill as the sunset...
Beyond What is Necessary

Beyond What is Necessary

Holidays challenge me. In my role as a teacher, one of the hardest parts of a holiday is accepting gifts from my students. Post-Santa, I was raised to understand that celebratory gifts are, conceptually, an exchange – you give a gift, you get a gift, with some...
No Selfie with the President

No Selfie with the President

This past weekend, a school colleague challenged me to ‘get a selfie with the president.’ As I watched President Obama leave the State Room where he had just spent the last hour talking with about a hundred of us about education, I heard one young woman in...