Friday, July 22, 2011

Teaching’s end!

Last night I had a dream. Many dreams are very confused and it is difficult to read them in a meaningful way, but this was different and it appears to me to have had a clear message for me!

I was an art teacher for 26 years. On the whole, I loved teaching. Sometimes pupils, and even whole classes, could be difficult and this created problems to be overcome. But it was a wonderful feeling when you felt that pupils were actually learning – particularly if they were not promising material and you had had to overcome their own lack of self-belief. But the last few years were difficult for me and I was suffering from a great deal of stress, which eventually forced me to retire on the grounds of ill-health. Nevertheless, a part of me was always very reluctant to let go of being a teacher.

In the dream, although still employed as a teacher in my old school, I was being offered a new post as art teacher in the school in which I had been educated myself. The school was an extremely good one and had an excellent Art Department, which I would have been very keen to work within. But, in the end, I found myself going to the Principal and apologising for wasting his time. I explained that I had been suffering from stress and that I now realised that I would be unable to fulfil the post in the way that I would have wished and would have been required.

Since I retired, I have occasionally had nightmares about teaching, but I always knew that I had to put this part of my life behind me and concentrate on making a new one for myself as an artist. As part of this process I even created a painting, which I called, "An Art Teacher’s Memento Mori", which was intended to sum up my experience as an art teacher, both the good and bad. I think that the dream was telling me that it is now time to let go of the last vestiges of myself as teacher, that this part of my life is finally over!
"An Art Teacher’s Memento Mori", February-May 2008.
Oils on canvas, 70 cm x 50 cm.

This painting and much of the rest of my art work is on display in my web site at

1 comment:

PaulaMcIntyre said...

I came across your site and want to thank you personally for guiding me through and understanding Art. I was a student of yours at Cookstown High School and I recall that while pupils do be disruptive, for some unknown reason, certain characters "played up" in your classes. Unfortunatly I changed schools just before your departure and never got the chance to tell you that Art in CHS will remain my fondest memories and favourite subject of all time. I now am 23 and continue to draw using the knowledge I gathered in your lessons and I hope that my children will have a gifted teacher like I did.
Paula McIntyre