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In today’s episode, Nic takes the opportunity to say goodbye. After two and a half years, and hundreds of episodes, she is stepping away from Everyday Art Room. In today’s episode, she spends time talking about her own life, where she goes for help, and what feeds her own soul. She also says thank you to a few people and shares her hopes for the future of the podcast. Full Episode Transcript Below.
Nic: It is October, the end of October, in fact, and we are about to celebrate Halloween in the United States. That means that we’re going to tell scary stories and share treats with one another. Well, today, I’m going to share a little treat with you, and I’m also going to tell you a scary story. This is Nic Hahn, and this is Everyday Art Room. I may not have been entirely forthright with what this episode is going to be about. As many of you might know from the conversation that I had last week with Tim Bogatz, this is my last episode with Everyday Art Room.
Yeah. That’s the scary story I want to tell you about. I’m scared. I’m scared of what this is going to lead into and my future, and I’m going to just reverse up where this decision came from and why I think it’s so important, but I also have some treats for you along the way, maybe some things that you can use in your own life, some things that might be resonating with you or maybe even inspirational. I wouldn’t go that far.
Who knows, but probably resonating. Let’s get started in this conversation of why I came up with this decision and had this conversation with The Art of Education University, of wrapping up my time with the podcast, Everyday Art Room. I am the second host of Everyday Art Room. If you were listening two and a half years ago, you know that Cassie Stephens was the initial voice of Everyday Art Room, and she left at about her two-year mark. She had other plans.
One was to start her own podcast with her more personal voice, and she did that, which is amazing. She also has done a ton of things since. It’s been two and a half years, so she’s written a couple of books and she’s worked with praying on a couple of projects, and who knows? That lady has so much going on. My story is going to be a little bit different.
See, I started on, I think, episode 99 with Everyday Art Room, and I was invited by Tim Bogatz, who I have been friends with for a long time. He is, of course, the host of Art Ed Radio and a good friend of mine. We chatted last week about kind of what it’s like to be a podcast host because we are looking for our next podcast host for Everyday Art Room, and I can’t wait to hear the next voice that has chosen. I’m completely out of it. Not going to be a part of the interview system at all.
That was a perk that I just kind of reserved for myself. No, thank you. I don’t want to have anything to do with this, but I can’t wait to hear the voice that replaces mine, because I think that this podcast has been an incredible way to have multiple conversations and some very important conversations, bringing in other voices. That has been one of my favorite parts of running this podcast, of hosting this podcast, is finding other voices to hear from, not just mine. This is going to be a major treat for me as a consumer to hear the next voice. What is it going to look like and how is it going to help art educators, specifically elementary art educators out there?
I’m hoping that this voice is going to be different than mine. My voice is different than Cassie’s, and the next voice that we hear, I hope has its own unique flare for Everyday Art Room. Of course, we know with The Art of Education University, it will have something to do with art, probably something to do with art education, probably something to do with elementary art education, but you know what? That is the beauty of this job, is that there has been a lot of flexibility in what I talk about and what is covered. Let’s get into that. Why am I stepping away from this amazing opportunity?
Well, two and a half years, let’s just start there, I have been coming up with content in a weekly basis for two and a half years, and frankly, it just is getting a little much. See, I don’t know if you heard, but there was a recent pandemic that we are currently in, and that has really taken a toll. What it is wonderful is so many of the listeners of this podcast know the trials and tribulations that I personally had been through in Minnesota and in my personal life, so there was a couple of hits, as we all shared, in different ways in the last year. The summer of 2021 here was designated to healing, I think for a lot of us, right? We all left our last school year thinking, “Oh my goodness. Thank goodness, we’re going to put this one to rest. We are going to recover.”
We know that our next year is not going to be normal, but it has to be better than what we’ve done for the last year and a half, and just completely running on adrenaline. That’s what we’ve been doing. This summer, I planned on just seeking some solitude and some healing and some creativity-sparking events in my own self, and we went on a trip as a family to Utah and experienced some landscapes that I’ve never seen before, and I got to do it with my three favorite people, my husband and my two teenage children. That was really special and a really amazing way to kick off my summer. Then, I had the opportunity to invite some friends and go to a little island up in Wisconsin at the very tippy-top in what is called the Apostle Islands.
We went to Bayfield, and then got on a ferry and went to a small, little island called Madeline Island. On Madeline Island, there is a school of arts, and they bring in artists from all over the world, and that was what I decided to do to rejuvenate myself, give myself a week away, find some friends who are on the same path as me, maybe looking to rejuvenate or maybe looking to start this new creative process in themselves. We actually had a couple of bumps in the road where Ian Fennelly, who was going to be our instructor, wasn’t able to come from the UK and due to the coronavirus, specifically the Delta variant, and so he wasn’t able to travel, which led us to our own studio for a week, and everybody else canceled, except for the three of us, so me and my two pals met the most beautiful people on Madeline Island, who gave us gifts, gave us gifts of energy, gave us gifts of wisdom, gave us gifts of time, and we blossomed. I came back and I said, “Oh my gosh, I thought this was going to quench my thirst, but it did not do that at all.” In fact, what it did was made me so incredibly thirsty for more, that I haven’t been able to get enough.
Unfortunately, school started. My life continued, right? I came back to reality, where I’m picking up and dropping off my son at football and my daughter at horseback riding, and my husband started a new aspect of his job, so he’s working in the District Office in the same district that I do, and our world went to reality and I became mom again, which was, I love this job. Don’t get me wrong, this is my favorite job, but it is not something filling me right now. It is something that was draining, at least at the beginning of the summer.
Starting the school year as well, I know. I know you felt this. Like we had hoped we have reservations. We are hesitant. We are just … I don’t know.
None of us even know the word to say, right? We knew that there was going to be change, we knew that it was going to be different, we just didn’t know how. Every single one of us has a different rule in our classroom. Every single one of us is experiencing similar things, but in different ways. In my particular school, I have new leadership.
We have many new teachers. We are over capacity in our school, so we are using every corner of every space. This put me on a cart and also having a traveling teacher share my classroom. I’m only on a cart part of the time, but it just added into this very unstable, unsteady year again. I wasn’t healed yet from last year.
I don’t know if anyone … No. I do know. I do know many of you are experiencing this, and I think we had talked on this podcast about our learning losses and not using that term. When I was talking about that, I was 100% talking about academia, just how the children that are coming into our classroom don’t have the building blocks that they typically have, so we just need to teach them the building blocks that are at an appropriate level for them, and this made sense to me.
What I did not understand was the loss in learning when it came to social skills. I know that I am speaking to the choir right here. I know that you are feeling this as well, that our students, no matter what level, they are coming to us at a different social awareness than they had come to us in the past, so if you are teaching fifth grade, your kids aren’t acting like fifth-graders or what you have known to be fifth-graders in the past. I didn’t expect to take this breather of social skills and bringing it back, but I truly am. I’m having to explain concepts, third grade concepts, third grade friendship concepts to my fifth-graders.
For example, I’m just giving this as an example, telling them how to act as a friend, but also doing it in a developmentally appropriate way. I might speak to my third-graders in this singsongy voice or have them do a chant with me, but when I’m talking to my fifth-graders, I need to give that same message, but to a older audience. This has taken a lot of work, a lot of skill for me inside my soul and brain and all my efforts, and it has really truly made me question what I’m doing this year. I know, this isn’t what you wanted to hear, but this is the scary story I was referring to at the beginning of this podcast. It scares me.
I don’t know what to do. I have students that are really challenged right now, really acting out in behaviors that I’ve never seen, and unfortunately, in our district and I’m sure in many of yours, we don’t have the staffing that we need. Now, this could be due to a couple of things. We might not have the people even applying for the jobs that we need. We have professionals that we need in our building that we have jobs out there for, and we don’t have the people that are applying for this.
In addition to that, we truly don’t have the funds. We continue to hear from our district that we don’t have the funds to cover what is needed or what we’re requesting as educators. I’m at a loss. I don’t know what to do, and here I am every week presenting to you. Have you noticed that I haven’t had a monologue for a while?
It’s because I’m lost. I’m lost like you. I’m bringing in experts from our community because I’m seeking answers. I want to have this conversation. What can we do to change this?
I have had multiple conversations with many, many different people. My life coach being one. I will link her information. Jenny is amazing, and she has brought me through just so many ways to balance my life and help me go through some think processes that has allowed me to balance a little bit better, questions to ask myself, things to journal, activities to do, and it has shown up in not only my professional life, certainly in my personal life, and then even in my health-wise, I’m becoming a healthier person in my body and soul because of the conversations I have with my life coach. If you haven’t already, I would highly recommend getting yourself a life coach, and I have a really good recommendation for you.
She does everything online, so no matter where you are, she would be a great resource. I will put Jenny’s information in the podcast notes. Then, just general conversations with my co-workers, such as Meagan Harapat, who is a Media Specialist in my building. She threw my own words back at me, and such a smart lady thing to do. Such a good friend thing to do.
She said, “Nicole, you often talk about goal or soul,” and she’s right. That’s actually how I became part of this podcast, was I asked myself that question. I have had this mantra in my world for years and years and years. “Is this a goal of mine? Would it feed my soul?”
If the answer is no to both of them, then I just pass on the opportunity. Well, this podcast came around, and it was 100% a goal of mine, to reach as many art educators as possible and have this larger community of people around me and to talk to, and to talk with, and therefore, yes, I will take on Everyday Art Room with such vigor and just joy. It’s been so amazing, but Meagan looked at me and she said, “At this point of your life, this is what you need to do at this 20-year mark of your education experience in the classroom. You need to let go of that goal part and just focus on the soul part.” Wow.
Thanks, Meagan. She’s right. If I am just concentrating on my soul, that’s actually going to reduce a lot of things, including this podcast. I actually had to let go of other things in my life, like Bunco and Pickleball. These are things that I love, but right now, it’s not what my soul needs, so I’m letting them go to the wayside, and I can pick them up sometime in the future.
I also have other good friends that I work with, Kelly Corder being one. Again, I’ll put her link to her Instagram in my show notes because Kelly is an amazing reader. Of course, Meagan has some great books as well, being the Media Specialist, but Kelly seeks these amazing books, and all I have to do, if I’m looking for a new book to read, is I go through her feed and I just go to Libby or Audible or wherever I can get my audiobooks, and I download something that she has requested. Oddly enough, she recently requested … Or not requested, I’m sorry.
She recently recommended a book called Greenlight by Matthew McConaughey. Now, I am not a Matthew McConaughey fan. I just … I don’t know. He never really spoke to me, right?
I mean, we know him in Dazed and Confused. He said, “All right, all right, all right. I dug it. It’s cool.” He’s a good-looking guy, but that’s all I knew about him, right? That’s it.
Wow, this book led me to so much more on this man, and actually, I’m one of his biggest fans now. I just cannot get over how deep this book is and how right it was for me at the moment. He talks about green lights along his life path, these moments in life where he just, he had the green light from people around him, from the universe, from his family, from opportunities that he ran into. Sometimes the green light is a red light, and in this case, putting down this opportunity. There’s so many … Oh, gosh, I can’t even tell you how many great quotes.
I am on the third time listening to it. I bought the book so that I can mark it all up. I just love this book, and I grabbed one quote from it. I could ramble on for hours probably, but this one says, “Sometimes we have to leave what we know to find what we know,” and I think that’s what the part that I’m seeking right now, is I know more than I think I know, but I have to let go of some of my routines, some of the things that have become redundant in my life to really rediscover what I know, which is who I am. Lisa Congdon is another author that I’m listening to right now, and actually, she has a podcast called Lisa Congdon Sessions.
I’m in the middle of her book as well. It is entitled Find Your Artistic Voice. Yes, I would like to do that. I think that’s what my soul needs right now, is more personal art. I also received another book recently by Phil Hansen.
It’s called Creativity Sucks. Okay, don’t … I know, I know. No, I don’t believe that. We don’t believe that. He doesn’t believe that.
Don’t worry. Read the book. I think we’re going to have a lot of nuggets in there as well, of just how to get past those creative blocks, and in this case, right now, I’m having a creative block on my education career, my career. The thing that I do and love and share and think about all the time, I’m having a creative block, so I need help from experts out there, from Matthew McConaughey, Lisa Congdon, Phil Hansen. I need help.
I need help from my co-workers, I need help from my family, I need help from my life coach, and I’m getting it. In doing that, I am releasing many, many different opportunities, different routines in my life to seek out more authentically who I am right now and where I want to go. As I mentioned, this is a scary story because it’s unknown. I don’t know where I’m going and I’m nervous about it, but I also told you I was going to give you a bunch of treats because it’s Halloween, and all of these resources that I’ve mentioned today are nuggets that have helped me and I’ve heard them at the right moments. I think that’s key. Maybe this is the moment for you.
Maybe you’re like, “Okay, thanks, Nic. Have a good one,” and that’s fine too. It really is, but maybe you’re hearing in this at the right moment too, and you can just take one thing that I’m sharing today and run with it. Maybe it’s Kelly’s books. Maybe it’s picking up Matthew McConaughey’s book and enjoying every moment of it because … Did I mention I love it?
It was so, so good. I don’t know what it’s going to be for you, but it is a opportunity for me to say goodbye and to say I appreciate you listening the last two and a half years. I appreciate the amazing comments that we have received in this community of art educators and educators, and my mother-in-law and my mom listen, and my good friends at school. It’s been a joy. In the upcoming weeks, we will be hearing the new sounds of what Everyday Art Room will begin to sound like.
Of course, this will be a developing thing. As it was for me, I had to find my voice as I started out, but I know that we have some really good candidates. If you are looking for an opportunity to possibly have your voice on the podcast or a podcast, I cannot stress enough to jump on over to The Art of Education University’s website. Check out the opportunities that we have. We are constantly hiring on this team, so look at what’s available, but I know that we have big ambitions for our podcast area, so are you a person who has like this golden nugget that you would like to share?
It might not be a forever podcast, but maybe a little mini series, or maybe you’re interested in being the next voice for the Everyday Art Room. We still have those opportunities open, so make sure that you check it out, and I will be sitting here with my earbuds in my ears, listening every week to see what will be happening next. This is an exciting time for Everyday Art Room, and I cannot thank you enough for the opportunity in the last two and a half years.
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.