In August of 2008 I began my journey into the public education system as an Art Educator. How it happened was very synchronistic…
I had a few interviews that summer, determined to have a placement by the beginning of the school year. I went to counties all over Maryland…. Talbot, Harford, Cecil, Montgomery, with the last interviews in Baltimore. My first interview for Baltimore was at Middle River, a school my father and my older sister both attended. The school isn’t in the most affluent neighborhood, and its reputation isn’t the most glamorous… however I was going to be working, it didn’t matter where.
After the interview with the principal, I was hired immediately. This was a part-time position and I was happy that I could start some where. Prior to this interview I met with the team at Ridgely Middle… there wasn’t a guaranteed opening at the time, but they were interviewing in case one of their teachers decided to take another position.
So it was the Friday before the first duty day for teachers, my friend Kristen and I took a trip to my new school to see my classroom and get some work done to prepare for the next week. I entered an open but fairly empty school, and had a little trouble getting into my classroom at first. Once we were in I saw that the social studies department chair had decorated all the walls! I did not know what to do! We left and I had feelings of anxiety as to how this whole thing was going to work…so many emotions about it all.
We head back to my friends house to do some planning and just try to take a deep breath before it all begins… and then I get a phone call.
“Hi Raine! This is Farrell, would you still like to work at Ridgely Middle School, full time? They would love to have you join their team.”
As you can imagine… I FLIPPED out… “Yes Yes Yes!” So they called the principal at Middle River and asked for him to “let me go” as I had already signed a contract with them for the part time position. Of course he said yes, though he didn’t have to, and I am forever grateful he did.
These past 10 years have been such an amazing journey of growth for me. Not only as an educator, but also as an artist and as a person. Being apart of the Ridgley community has been such a blessing. I have taught over 3,000 students in the past 10 years. Each of them touching my life and shaping my perspective in some way. Every year a new group of amazing people come through my classroom, and I am so blessed to be able to share my passion with them in order to help them find their own passion in life.
10 is a very significant number to me… my birthday is 10/10, my number in volleyball and softball was 10. To me 10 represents balance through opposites. The 1 and the 0 are binary and within themselves contain answers to experience.
So this year has to be an amazing year… and I must say it has been so far.
I love my students, I love my coworkers, and I love my curriculum. I am having an amazing time learning about each person, and seeing their eyes light up when they are able to express themselves using art after feeling like they would never be good enough to do so before. To see the amazing work they create with such meaning, and effort is worth all the grading and paperwork.
I love what I do.
Here are a few pictures of what we’ve done so far!
Sugar Skulls focusing on the Elements of Art and Principles of Design
8th grade created Vision Boards with intentions!
Students created art to show the theme “Art to Remember!”
6th grade collaborated to create Inspiration Posters
In my very special class we made inspiration stones, autumn trees, and winter penguins.