I remember just before I got ill in 2002 and had to retire from my job as a primary headteacher, that I was asked to give a lecture to newly qualified teachers on the importance of art within education. I remember compiling a whole page of wonderful quotes to this end and it was one of the handouts I gave to the attendees. It was a really successful and enjoyable session and I remember it very fondly as so many of the young teachers came up to me afterwards to say that they were now inspired to not just teach art but to teach "through" art, that I had opened their eyes to something they had not thought of before. Mostly this was because they thought they were no good at art themselves. How did that happen I wonder?? Well we all know the answer to that....
Anyway, this was one of the very last things I did as a headteacher as only about a week later I was so ill with my (at that time unknown) cancer that I was no longer able to go to work. Some weeks later my deputy sent on to me a batch of letters from these same students saying what a difference to their teaching that day had made. I still get a thrill from that for I was a passionate believer in all the creative and expressive arts as a teacher. Art, in all its forms, does so much for young children and at the time I got ill, it was being sidelined out of the curriculum to such an extent that newly qualified young teachers had no confidence to teach it. I was certainly carrying the banner for the arts at that time and I was leading a series of lectures on art, dance and drama in particular as I was going downhill fast with my illness.
But, now 11 years later, those last few weeks of my career still linger in my memory because the funny thing is that I never had any confidence in myself as an artist either. Art journalling and the wonderful people you meet through doing it, brought my inner fears right out and tossed them right away for me. So..... I still believe in the joy, the healing, the flying high that we can get when we express ourselves through art and I am so happy I have others still to share this with.