03 April 2012

Never Say Never

I recently shared with my fellow colleagues at lunch last week, that I almost didn't become an art teacher. The look on their faces was priceless. I think I shocked them.


I should probably back up and start from the beginning.

When my mother passed away in 1995, I was in the 8th grade. I began to keep a sketch book and took an interest in drawing. Nothing grand mind you. Just writing, collaging those types of things. ( I have over 13 journals that are to this day, very painful for me to read. They were a great source/outlet for me to put all my feelings out there, but only for me to see.)

Upon graduating from middle school,
I was enrolled in all girls catholic high school for 2 years where I started to take art classes my freshman and sophomore year. I loved my art teacher. She was so positive and let us, all of us, her students, have so much creativity and freedom with our assignments.I even did Set Design for our school plays along with stage crew! 

After those 2 years, my father had met someone, remarried, and we had to move away, since my stepmom didn't feel comfortable living in the house that my mom died in. At the time I was super angry about this (as an adult now, I totally can say who can blame her!? Again another story for another day)

So we moved to a new town 45 min from my old one. Where I started HS as a Junior with NO FRIENDS. Let me tell you, as parents, as a child that went through this, if at all possible, NEVER pull your children from High School mid year. It's the worst possible time to yank a hormonal teenager from school. 

We toured my new private catholic high school, which was co-ed woo hoo! My dad and I asked to see the art room and meet the art teacher.

We shook hands, said how do you do, and then I don't remember how the comment even came up, but my father made the mistake of saying, "Cassandra always gets "A"s in art."

My new art teacher's response: "Well Mister_______, in my class, "A"s are EARNED."

I was stunned. WTF.


My father was not trying to be smug or say I was some God's gift artist, he was just saying I always did well in art. It was my one subject I excelled in.

From the moment school started, and I had art class, I kid you not, the art teacher was EXTREMELY hard on me. She never had anything good to say about my art. EVER. This teacher, is a reason I almost didn't get into college. I had no portfolio filled with art work since I really hated the majority of my art work. After all, they were not quite good enough, according to my teacher.

 She basically had it out for me. Yes, those teachers even in my time did exist, probably still do. 
To my knowledge the beast of a teacher is STILL teaching. (her poor students now) 

I graduated HS in 2000. 

I had never felt so lost in my life. I entered college in the fall of 2000 not knowing what direction to even go in, since I had lost my passion/interest for art. 

The biggest lie I ever got told in college was that "oh you don't have to declare your major right away, you can just take gen ed courses your first year."

.....::::Cough Cough:::.... 


Not having a general interest/direction my first year, added on that extra semester at the end of 4 years for me. I only graduated in 4/1/2 years because I took a ton of classes over the summer to get out in under 5 years. 

You have to know a general direction of what you want to study in college. Otherwise you'll never graduate in under 5 years! 

Anyhow, after my first year, I finally decided to ease back into art. And when I say ease, I mean I signed up for ONE measly art class, and based on how that went, would be my deciding factor as to whether or not I'd ever do anything with art. 

I knew graduating with an "Art" degree I would not make any money as the expression goes, a "Starving artist". 

So my advisor suggested Art Education. 

I was like as in being a teacher?

Does that mean I have to take math?

She laughed. No, only one gen ed math class required. (THANK GOODNESS! Math was so and is still not my "thing")

I found my niche around my Junior Year. I had really taking a liking to my intro to Photography class, and took every photo class after that. 

Being an Art Ed major, was like being a double major. I had to take all education classes, on top of all Art classes. Talk about a ton of work! 

I decided that as much as I loved Photography, I didn't want to "teach" it. That I would do photo for "me" and only on the side.

That's where teaching came in, and I focused on wanting to teach gen ed art to grades K-12. 

My  current staff thanks me over and over for not giving up on my "dream". Regardless of who tells you "NO, you can't you won't you're not good enough" is such a crock of SHIIIZ. 


I'm like the Michael Jordan version for art. People will tell you no, find something else, and yet through perseverance, dedication, to all those people who didn't believe in me,





  1. Good for you lady! Sometimes I don't think teachers, especially high school teachers, realize how influential their words can be. I was always an A student and in my senior year I had a teacher tell our class that anyone who got As all through high school had hit their peak. They would never get any better than that. That was in 2002. 10 years later I still remember it and remember thinking feeling lost. If I had already peaked, what would I do next? It sucked! Congrats for finally finding your niche. I'm sure your students are thrilled about it :)

  2. WOOHOO for you missy! congrats for sticking to your goal and saying forget you to that horrible teacher. such a shame teachers like that are still allowed to be in charge of youth. Makes me so sad!

    I know your students appreciate you and I must say I appreciate you nurturing the minds of the future. CHEERS CMAE!


  3. The whole "you don't have to know your major right away" is the biggest load of BULL they'll ever tell you when you start college. I'm STILL trying to catch up from my mistake as a freshman.. many summer classes later. But it's all about getting there eventually right? ;) So glad you followed your passion, after rediscovering it! You definitely have a talent, and your students' artwork is to die for. I always enjoy seeing those posts!

  4. This brought tears to my eyes, happy ones. I'm so proud of you, and I know that my motivation to follow both my calling and passion will prevail, especially after reading your story. Thank you so much for sharing this! You're very inspiring!

  5. I am so glad you did choose to become an art teacher because I can tell through your writing how much it impacts you and how you are really changing lives of your students.

  6. I always love looking at the work your students do in your classes. You are so talented and I am so glad you are sharing your talents with children in America! They are blessed and lucky to have a teacher like you in their lives :-) I know your mom is smiling down on you and your success! Xoxo

  7. Such an inspirational post! You are precious. Teachers are amazing people and thanks for making a difference in those little lives!

  8. I majored in art my freshman year of college and that's the reason I changed my major! We had 1-2 art teacher that taught all of the classes because the major was so small. I kid you not, I got a D on EVERY single project I did in my drawing class & intro class because this woman hated me! I get that maybe I wasn't good at it/doing it how she liked it, but come on, a D? In my book, D's are reserved for those who just didn't try hard enough, not for people who may not have done it to her liking!

  9. What an amazing story - thanks for sharing! I always love hearing how things end up working out for people. I'm sure you are a fabulous art teacher so you made the right choice :)

  10. Love your blog and you as an art teacher is completely inspiring. Art can be cathartic and wonderful and so many wonderful things. Your students are lucky to have your guidance. I am moved that you shared the back story of losing your mother and dealing with your life after. I lost my mother when I was 16 (she was sick about 2 years). That is a tough thing.


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