I am sure that a lot of students, parents, and community members wonder what the area teachers do on Regional Institute Day...let me tell you...a lot. This day is set aside by our Regional Office of Education for area teachers to take courses on new curriculum or materials in education, to learn more about dealing with students who may have certain needs that are to be met, or to sometimes gain extra or specific knowledge in our field of teaching.
I am never really sure where to go on institute day, but I always end up attending the workshops at Eastern Illinois University. They are interesting classes in which we have the chance to round table with other educators in the art field, tour the Tarble Art Center's current show, and then take a class in which we complete a lesson that relates to the show.
This year however, I tried a new class and loved it! I attended a class presented by area art teachers. Two of these teachers, I have always admired. Jamie Willis is a wonderful art teacher in the Mattoon School District who has a vast knowledge in fiber art. Pat Mahler, who is retired teacher from the Charleston district also taught this class, is an Illinois Artist in Residency. She too, is an amazing fiber artist. Together, they taught a class on bookmaking. They were a fount of information to me. I learned so much about bookmaking and soft sculpture. It has made me quite excited about finding ways to put this in my art curriculum. In the spring I am going to put these into place in our hand arts and sculpture classes.
The thing I love about teaching is that I in turn never stop learning. There are so many ways that I can improve what I teach and these workshops help me succeed in that. So thank you Pat and Jamie and thank you Regional Office of Education for the experience!