I recently had a conversation with a friend about our photography and the non-linear nature of it. He has been absent from the social media scene for much of the last year, and yet continues to shoot professionally. I described to Kern how anxious I was entering this current school year, as I was changing schools and I knew that my new teaching assignment would place a lot of pressure on me. I understood going into it that I would be changing my expectations and priorities, that I would have to be dedicating a whole lot more time to planning, and planning, and planning (and planning) than I had in the past few years (moving from teaching on subject to five) and so felt that going into the new school year I would be photographing a lot less, and putting creative effort into teaching a lot more.
Well, one of those things did happen, I put A LOT of time into my teaching. For the previous 7 years, I taught four different units each year. This year, I’ve taught 28 units (actually only 26, I have two more to create and teach.) And, at least 14 of the units, will have been taught twice. So YES, the energy expended on teaching rose significantly . And, that has been very, very rewarding. I was given the chance to teach subjects I hadn’t before, and I was given a chance to teach subjects that I really do enjoy but which didn’t fit into the scope of the middle school classroom. As well, I’ve been able to create work in a very different way, geared towards a population of at-risk learners, many who are returning to high school for the third or fourth time, and who are much older than the traditional student. So, with all of the work accomplished I feel like the upcoming years I’ll be able to shit my focus to the most important of education, the relationship. Truly moving people forward, regardless of where they are.
But, what about the photography? What happened to that? To be totally honest, the muse was as strong as ever. In August I set an intention to not overthink things, at things things like photography and my work/life balance. I made a commitment to myself to get my school work done and then say to myself, “well, how do you feel?” If I felt good, I would go shoot. If I felt prepared for the coming week, I would take the time to indulge the muse with shorter trips, going out for a long day instead of over night, or over a weekend. I only took one “long” fall trip this year, instead of multiple, and coupled with trips now to Michigan, Florida and New Orleans, I’m very satisfied with how my work as grown, both in terms of skill and content, but also in consistency, and heart. I’ve also learned to accept that not every day is for photography. That some days I need to put the camera aside and take in time with children and friends, and take time just for myself. I think I already talked about that a bit in the blog entitled “Still.”
So year number two… one that so growth and opportunity, one that saw change and resilience, one that allowed more doors to open and circles to expand. Thank you for continuing to follow me on this journey.