Art and Positive Thinking

Welcome to my Renee Loves Art blog!

My focus is exploring, creating and reflecting upon the positives of life and connecting them to my art whether it be photography, pen and ink drawings, watercolour paintings, mixed media, digital media or any other possible media I dive into!

I hope you join me on my art adventure!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Positively Reflective

He Caused Many Ripples
After someone dies, one becomes positively reflective.  A college professor of mine, Dr. Wilson, an active historian, author and school board member, passed away yesterday morning. 

He always seemed happy and always had a great big shiny smile which was followed by a greeting that made your name sing.  The sunshine poured out of him.

He was very influential in my teacher education and always made me want to be better.  He showed encouragement, and passion.  He taught us not only how to teach, but also how to think and be creative.  He exposed us to modern educational philosophies and made us question education.  Did the way we learned in our own schooling, best meet our needs?  Is there a better way?  He is part of the reason I teach and reflect the way I do.  He also taught us etiquette and how to act when in a formal situation... which fork to use, when to toast the Queen, when not to clink your glass.

However, the one thing that I will always be grateful for is how he inspired me to be a better reader.  In school, I was a nervous wreck when I had to read out loud.  I remember sitting in rows and just hoping and praying that my teacher would not make be read in front of everyone.  Of course she did, so I would count how many people were in my row, and then count the paragraphs, and then as the other students were reading, I would read and re-read my paragraph to myself, in horrible anticipation of when I would have to read.  When it was my turn, I would stumble through, stammering and repeating certain passages,so self-conscious and unsure. 

When I got to college, and was taking a beginning education course and was in a tutorial group, Dr. Wilson stressed with great passion, that as teachers we needed to be fantastic readers and needed to use so much eye contact and expression, that would make our students beg for more and want to read!  Of course we had to read in front of other student teachers, and that made me very nervous. 

I went home and I practised and practised and practised. I discovered that the reason I had so many troubles reading is I had terrible strategies of decoding words and basically had to teach myself how to read, by remembering patterns.  With new strategies, I began to stumble less.  Don't get me wrong I could read before this, but for some reason when I had to read orally, I fumbled so much, that I was embarrassed,and more mistakes and then just prefered to not read aloud.  So after practising and teaching myself how to decode, my confidence began to grow and I was able to read in front of the small tutorial group.  Dr. Wilson sung the praises and suddenly, I felt like I could read orally and that I could actually engage my students when the time came. 

I still like to pre-read what I am going to read to my students, but I can say that I am a confident reader who grabs the attention of her students with dramatic expression and plenty of eye contact, all  because of the wonderful instruction and positive encouragement from Dr. Wilson. 

Whenever I have a student teacher, I insist that she/he use eye contact and dramatic expression, because I never want a student to not love it when an adult reads to them, and who knows, that reading may motivate them to be readers and performers! 

It is because of Dr. Wilson that I have a passion for reading, exploring new ideas, creating innovative lessons and am a reflective person who there a better way?...will this engage students so they enjoy learning and will want to continue to learn? 

Unfortunately for his family and our community of learners, he is now no longer with us, but the impact he had on us will always remain.  I will always remember his happiness and smile and encouragement... 

Some happiness quotes that I have been collecting beckoned me today and found their way into my art...I became positively reflective. This is in memory of Dr. Wilson.  He will be missed, but the ripples of his influence will be forever felt!

He Emanated Happiness

He Inspired Happiness
Good-bye, Dr.Wilson.  You made a difference and will not be forgotten!
Thank you for everything!
It was an honour to know you and learn from you!

The art is soul property of Renee Dowling.
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  1. What kind words and a wonderful tribute Renee! I've always felt that a teacher can either 'make you or break you' (I'm still haunted by my horrible junior high math teacher) and it sounds like Dr. Wilson was a very caring, kind soul that went out of his way to 'make' his students! I think he will have left wonderful, lasting impressions on many of the people he touched!

    1. Thank you, Terri. He did leave a lasting impression. Premier Alison Redford and senator Pamela Wallin sent the family messages. The mayor of Medicine Hat, the president of the Medicine Hat College, and so many educators, were present at his memorial of thanksgiving. Tomorrow I will write more about his last words and music, the final gifts he left us with.

  2. Such a beautiful story. He must've been a wonderful man! I love the painting you made with all the different quotes! Lovely tribute, I'm sure he would've loved it too!

  3. Thank you, Denthe. His influence really was unending!


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