My Part-Time Job…

I started to get really busy at McKinney Christian this month, what with TAPPS and regional competitions and ACT Aspire testings going on.

The students went to field and track, golf and baseball, band, drama and debate…

They were busy shining.

The teachers went along to glow.

I took their places in the classroom for those who were left behind.

I spent four very rewarding days in the art room.  I had been over to the Student Life Building before to substitute for Drama, Choir and Band and had no idea that right at the end of the hall was an Art room that would inspire even the least creative person to tap into her artistic side if only for a semester.

There was something for everybody.

Embroidery, knitting, weaving and dressmaking,

Sculpting with clay, wire and papier mache,


Winter tree sculpture

Painting on easels with acrylics and oils on canvas and paper,

Re-creating a classic masterpiece on an unconventional surface,


Van Gogh’s Starry Night on a coke can

Throwing pottery on the four wheels and firing them in a large kiln…letting your imagination run wild,


Tea pot inspired by the coral reef

Breaking colored glass to mosaic and hang in windows,

Constructing 3D images and landscapes,


Butterflies hovering

You name it the students had full access for the asking.

I was left the equivalent of busy work sheets that fascinated me because I had never been taken seriously as a student of art having been told when I was about 9,

“You’ll never make an artist,” by a teacher critiquing my rendition of a baked bean depicted as a ‘human bean’.  From then on I stayed away from paint and colored pencils, paper and canvas and never learned the subtle techniques of the fine artist.

It wasn’t until my children told me I could draw that I came out of my shell and illustrated stories for them with my colorful stick figures.

However, art will out and I turned my talent to the written word where I use my palette of words to set a scene, evoke an emotion, reduce to tears, bring back memories or break out in laughter.

In the art room I learned origami and Notan, the use of positive and negative space and tessellation.  I mocked up an example of each project so I could teach the method because although I claimed to know nothing about light or form the students asked me questions and expected me to help.

Luckily my English accent allows me to get away with murder.

My homeschooling gives me confidence.

The students inspire me.

And the teachers trust and value me expecting me to naturally know what to do and how to run a class…

Talking of which, I was left with these scanty instructions in another room,



It made me laugh and I spent the time playing card games, telling jokes fed to me by one of my daughters, and quietly listening to a young man playing guitar and singing.

The students know me now and are relaxed and comfortable in my presence,

“Ms McNeny, I had my heart broken this weekend,” one of the boys said.

“You wear the cutest outfits…” said one of the girls.

“How’s your husband?  What’s he up to?” asked a senior who thought I was married to some sort of rock star (which I am of course!).

And another,

“I heard you worked for the Beatles.”

“Me?  No!  Perhaps your source was talking about my husband!”

“Well, let’s not tell anyone any differently,” he said in a conspirator whisper!

They love the fact that I am not a jaded, retired teacher…that I have an aura of mystery, that my husband knows famous people…I love that fact too…

“Have you written a new blog lately?”  asked Blake.  I had been talking to an AP English class  about writing and mentioned that I wrote a blog,

“What’s it called?” he’d asked and he’d gone onto his phone and found me and declared to the rest of his class,

“Ms. McNeny has a blog and it is really professional looking guys.  Go on and have a look!”

I was pretty chuffed by that on my first day in the classroom.

A sense of being affirmed!

“Write a blog about he me…” he said during his bible class last week, “give me a shout out!”

Thank you Blake!

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