Art Appreciation

Margaret Mead said famously, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

I’d never thought of myself as part of that “small group.” Despite six years of teaching, it has often been hard for me to notice tangible, positive results. It’s been much easier to dread a meeting with a difficult parent, or feel guilty about a class that didn’t do well on an exam.

Since I started the blog four days ago, though, I’m learning to notice all the “thoughtful, committed” teachers around me in finer detail. I’m beginning to think differently about the impact of my small actions, too.

My colleague Lauren’s story is a good example of a subtle, yet lovely moment:

While visiting Monet’s Water Lilies panorama at MOMA with my senior Art and Lit. class, one of my burly football player students said to me with an awe-filled expression: “It seems as though this museum should have been built around this.”

Another colleague, Shane, shared an end-of-year goodbye from an ELL student who expressed her joy and gratitude despite her imperfect skills, writing:

Dear –, I’m so happy this year. You are funny. I like you so much. I don’t know how to say…just thank you.

Teachers often “change worlds” — students’ worlds and their own worlds — through their “thoughtful, committed” actions.

Like the brushstrokes in Monet’s Water Lilies, we need to acknowledge these moments as parts of a powerful whole, however tiny they may seem in isolation.

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