This week we’re proud to present another great interview by Team Grundler, this time with Ted Edinger, the author of the popular art education blog Art with Mr. E and this month’s host of the popular Twitter movement #k12ArtChallenge.
Back in the Fall of 2014, when we began our Twitter arts education journey, Ted Edinger was one of the first amazing positive art teachers we connected with. He is a father, artist, art educator, blogger, and always fun, smart, witty and there to support other educators. We couldn’t be happier that he’s hosting #k12ArtChallenge this November and of course, we had to interview him.
Ted, thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview and being the current #k12ArtChallenge host. Let’s dig in.
We’d like to start by asking you to give a little personal profile of yourself. How long you’ve been teaching, why you are so passionate about arts education and anything else you’d like to share
I moved to Nashville,TN from Ohio in 1997 to begin my career as an art educator. MNPS hired 80 art teachers that summer to fill every elementary school in the city. It was perfect timing for me because I had graduated in Dec. of 1996 after doing my student teaching in Montreal, Quebec as part of the international student teaching program. I started blogging when I started my Master’s Degree in 2008, and that has taken on a life of its own. I still can’t believe the blessing I’ve been given to speak to such a large audience through that platform. I grew up in a small town of 70 people in the middle of a forest along the WV border, and never could I have imagined getting the opportunities I’ve been given.
Tell us about the challenge you are hosting this month and why you decided to host? We know from experience that it can be a lot of extra work.
The challenge I’m hosting is about acting upon gratitude through artfully made Thank You cards & other thoughtful gestures. I created the hashtag #ARTGIVINGNOV to go along with it. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, and I wanted to encourage the heart of Thanksgiving through this challenge. I believe people are thankful for the blessings in their life, but sometimes are just so busy they forget to say THANK YOU. I’m not judging because I’m guilty of this too! My hope is that this challenge will help develop that attitude of gratitude so it is a natural response to the overflow of blessings in our life.
We love that your blogging is so supportive of other teachers, you have a blogroll, a section about curriculum/standards and a section for student teachers. Why do you feel supporting fellow educators is so important?
I believe a big part this is because I’m hard-wired that way. I’m a 10 on the extrovert scale & a teacher to the core. It seems pretty natural to want to reach out and connect with other art educators…. and blogging was just another platform for me to do that! I also have seen the need for it. At the end of that first year of the 80 art teachers being hired to fill the elementary schools 30 left, and 20 more left at the end of the second year. I believe it was because they felt disconnected, unsupported, and did not have the professional development they needed to grow as art educators. If I can be a mentor, cheerleader, or encourager to just one art teacher in person or through my blog…. I feel I’ve helped give back to a profession that has given me so much. Plus, if something is within my power to help…why wouldn’t I??
It you could tell the world one thing about art education what would it be and why?
Art education has less to with crayons, paint, scissors, and glue….. and much more to do with developing the learner to think critically & creatively, embrace discipline, and express their thoughts and ideas through a variety of means. Art education develops the student as a WHOLE learner.
It you could tell the world one thing about gratitude what would it be and why?
Gratitude is not about all that you’ve earned, received, or been gifted in a monetary/materialistic way. Gratitude is the overflow of realizing life itself is the gift, happiness is a choice, and joy can be present even in sorrow. Gratitude expresses itself through action because it cannot be contained.
Ultimately what is your hope for the challenge and what do you hope people will gain from the experience?
This world is full of greed, fears, worries & woes, but when we live life with gratitude in our hearts & minds we can combat the negativity that wants to strangle our hopes/dreams & steal our joy! Gratitude is contagious. If we can live it out…we will see a difference in our lives & those around us.
Ted, we thank you for sharing this challenge with our artistic community and hope to see many more people jump in and share their art to the #k12ArtChallenge gallery on Creatubbles and via social media using #ArtGivingNov. It is a great opportunity to share goodwill and thankfulness with others.
Wishing you creative experiences,
Laura & Matt Grundler
Ted Edinger is an art teacher at the Tulip Grove Elementary in Hermitage,TN. He was named the 2011-2012 Tennessee State Elementary Art Teacher of the Year by the TAEA. He is also a dad to 6-year-old Margaret, 4-year-old Eli and 18-month-old Caroline.
Mr E’s blog www.artwithmre.com
Mr E on Twitter: @artwithmre
If any of your young creators are taking part in any of the #K12artchallenge’s remember to upload the results to Creatubbles!
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