From November 19th to the 21st I attended a conference at Teachers College Columbia University. It gave me my first real look into the school that I am overjoyed to call my own starting Fall 2016. I met students and teachers from around the world who came together to discuss the history of our field.
I attended nine sessions all with two or more presenters in each. I heard at least 20 papers all about the history of education from primary sources and oral histories to biographical accounts of forgotten and unsung hero's of art education.
We discussed evaluation of art projects for grades in a traditional classroom, something everyone seemed passionate about. How to grade art is much contested and debated, there really is no "wrong way" to create art, and yet some how the educator is supposed to evaluate it.
The most important moment for me was when someone in the audience asked what the faculty of Teachers College hope to instill in their students that they can carry forward into their own classes. Professor Mary Hafeli, responded that she knows that every student and every classroom is different but that she hopes that all of her students know and understand that "all children are artists,". This singular moment made me feel like I finally knew I was in the right place. I felt the instant gut feeling that this was the place for me. Even thought I made the commitment months ago, it feels more real now than it ever has.
After I got out of the conference I went to the bookstore and bought my first Columbia sweatshirt. That has always felt symbolic to me, the school sweatshirt. It is a symbol of this life changing moment when this school becomes a part of your life. That choice will change who you are and the corse of your life. There are very few moments in life where we make these life changing decisions, going to graduate school is one of them.
I am thankful for this opportunity and all that is in store.