Appreciating an Art Teacher for Teaching Art Appreciation

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week. It’s also the seventh week that this family has been sequestered in the Elizabeth Murphy House and that Angela – our matriarch and the amazing Art Teacher at Atwater School (Public, K-6) – has been retooling her curriculum for remote learning from her newly setup basement office/studio. Every weekend Mrs. Hayes assembles a week’s worth of new lesson plans, video demonstrations, rubrics and learning targets and offers Zoom support so that her 520 students (with parental support) might explore, experiment and discover in the way that only the making of original art allows.

This week the distance seem especially poignant. As the school moves towards closure for the summer months, teachers are collecting work done before Covid-19 so that parents might pick up materials from a safe distance. When the stay-at-home order was announced, Mrs. Hayes had thousands of pieces of student art on display throughout the school.

Over the last few weeks, Mrs. Hayes has gone to school alone to take down displays and organize the work. Today and tomorrow she will be sorting over 5,000 pieces into 520 paper sacks, so that every student has every piece of work from the 2020 school year. She is carefully protecting works of clay, models, sketches and paintings, and ensuring that each family receives the correct pieces.

(Many of the clay pieces are architectural models – facades of homes designed after Mrs. Hayes and her fourth-graders ventured out on a field trip to observe neighboring homes and buildings and visited the Elizabeth Murphy House.)

She misses direct contact with her students but she is as nurturing and concerned for their well being as she would be were they together in the classroom.

So this week and every week, we appreciate Mrs. Hayes, Art Teacher extraordinaire.


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