By Eliminating the Arts We Are Undermining Our Founders Vision of America
When I was just a wee little preschooler, I was desperately trying to find my place in a world that was far too big and confusing to a toddler. My insecurities were many, my confidence was minimal, and I just was not yet comfortable in my own skin. My only therapy at the time (which I didn’t know was therapy) occurred during the only time in school when I could express myself both emotionally and creatively: our art time. In painting and drawing, I learned to express myself; I learned to be creative and, most importantly, I learned that sometimes it is okay to draw outside the lines. Only through art was I able to express myself both creatively and emotionally, and it opened my mind and my heart in ways that I was not aware of at the time.
Though I now teach history, which may come as a surprise, it was my time and talents in art that helped mold me into the nationally recognized educator that I am today. I have been humbled by all the attention I have received for my innovative and creative methods. But, the irony is that my successes teaching history are mainly achieved by incorporating strategies that are more likely to be found in an art class. From drawing to photography to music, using artistic means not only helps my students understand history, but it nurtures their creativity and imagination at the same time. History is my passion and is necessary to understand why things are; similarly, math and the sciences are necessary to explain why things are, but, it is the subject of the arts that is necessary to create and envision how things could be.