Archives for category: mentor

IMG_2812So my calendar tells me that today is “National Teacher Day”, but if you’re like me, I’m guessing you don’t spend just one day a year thinking about the teachers who’ve made a difference in your life.

In my long educational journey, two teachers stand out above the rest, Mr. Funk, my sixth grade teacher, and Fraulein Koopman, my high school German teacher, and I think about both of them often.  These two people helped shape the person — and the teacher — I’ve become, in ways too numerous to mention. So often in the midst of my daily life, some nugget of wisdom or bit of life philosophy will rise to the surface of my mind, making me smile and think of them. Today especially, I’m thinking of them both, and honoring them in my heart.

And what about the people in our lives who don’t actually teach for a living… but who have been important teachers for us nonetheless? I’m thinking about them today, too.

If you haven’t already done so, why not take just a moment to remember a special teacher, and think about the unique richness they brought to your life. While reflecting on the qualities that made him or her so dear to you, think about your own career as a teacher. Are you the kind of educator your students will remember? I, for one, hope I am.

IMG_2617Hello March! Even if the weather doesn’t quite feel like spring yet where you live, you know it’s just around the corner. And for teachers… that can only mean one thing: Spring Break! And just beyond that: Summer!

Why not take a moment now to plan some fun professional development experiences for yourself to begin over spring break, or to look forward to over the summer? What?! You don’t think of earning professional development credits as something you might “look forward” to? Well click here and prepare to think about professional development in a whole new way!

Each of the five distance-learning art courses I teach through Fresno Pacific University is affordable, convenient, self-paced and — best of all — fun! No previous art experience is required, but if you have some, I promise there’s something in these courses for you, too. You’ll also love the fact that no special, “exotic” art materials are required. But don’t just take my word for it, check out the student reviews for each course. (Click here for a list of all of my classes. Once there, click on the title of any class to read its description, download the syllabus, and/or read student reviews.)

Registration is easy, and if you enter promo code W11402JGF, you will save $10 off per course. Once I’ve been notified by the University of your registration, I’ll send you a “Welcome” email with your course book attached within 48 hours. It’s that simple! (And don’t forget FUN!) You can email me any time with questions, so it’s like I’m right there with you, cheering you on. Your personal art coach! 🙂 And really, with course names like, “Drawing Magic” and “The Magic of Paper“… what’s not to enjoy?!

Together we can make your vacation time fun and productive! I look forward to “seeing” you in class soon.

IMG_1778It’s back to school time once again, and with it comes all the mixed feelings of sadness that summer is winding down, and of excitement and anticipation for all the promise a new school year holds.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the website We Are Teachers was promoting some printable teacher quotes today on Facebook, and that one of them was something I said. (Pulled from this very blog!) Click here for a link to this printable quote called “Take Another Look”, which I hope will inspire you to include more art in your classroom this year. Research shows that children involved in the arts benefit from it in innumerable ways. But most importantly, it’s fun… and your students will love you for it!

Best wishes for a successful and art-filled school year!

IMG_1996I’m thinking a lot today about the most important mentor I’ve had for my art and teaching careers. That mentor was my Dad, Ralph Gomas. Today he would have been 78 years old, so of course I’m thinking of him even more than usual on his birthday.

Without his example — his and my mom’s actually, because she’s very creative in her own right  — I don’t think I would have been interested in pursuing art as a career. In fact art and design were such an integral part of my life growing up, I didn’t really even consider them career options at first… they were so foundational. Because of this strong artistic foundation, becoming a graphic designer was a natural fit for me and I loved it. I was already working in the industry when we began to move away from using darkrooms, typesetters, and waxers, to working completely on the computer. It was liberating and frustrating all at once. (I still miss wielding an x-acto knife from time to time.)

Then life changed and I went back to school to earn my teaching credential. It took me by surprise how much I loved being in the classroom. It really is a performance of sorts, and I’d always loved doing that, so I shouldn’t have been shocked. My Dad’s help as I took the helm of a first grade classroom, and then years later, a continuation high school art room, was invaluable. (I literally don’t think I could have survived the start of that high school teaching assignment without his constant help and advice!) Next, I earned my Master’s Degree which enabled me to begin working side-by-side with my Dad teaching the Professional Development art courses he’d written for Fresno Pacific University’s Center for Professional Development. We spent hours together with him talking me through his thought process while reviewing the work of countless students from all over the country, and the world. This was mentoring at it’s best. Then we worked together in the same room but on separate computers reviewing student work. It was reassuring to know I could ask his opinion any time I needed to if I had a question about something a student had submitted.

Though he’s been gone for a little more than eight years now, his skilled mentoring still guides me to this day. He’s not sitting at the computer next to me, but I feel he’s always close in my heart when I really need him.

Have you had a special mentor while following your career path? Do they know how much they’ve helped and influenced you? Perhaps you yourself have had the privilege of being a mentor to someone. It can be an awesome responsibility as well as a terrific way to “pay it forward”.