Over at ArtFabrik, Laura Wasilowski blogged about how working in a messy studio made her comfortable and productive. Here’s a term you may or may not have heard. Work Dance. When I was still working, most of the teachers would start to show up in their classrooms anywhere from a month to two weeks ahead of the first work day. Some would immediately set up the room, decorating the bulletins boards and arranging the desks. Others would sit down in the midst of the summer cleaning mess and plan out a year-long curriculum, getting their minds in gear immediately. Still others would have another process. A conference speaker once referred to this as the “work dance”. Everyone has their own “work dance” routine. I always had to have the classroom looking perfect before I could begin to plan out the lessons and processes. My environment had to be set, even on a daily basis, as I always cleaned up and organized the room before sitting down to look over the students’ daily work.
Some teachers never seemed to have the need for a decorative or organized environment. I envied the way they could hone in on whatever task was at hand and move out the door towards home more quickly. No particular way was the “right” way, but we learned we all had unique “work dances”. I taught this term to my students so they could begin to understand themselves and also to tolerate better the other 32-36 students with whom we shared our limited space. We each danced to our own music, but tried to keep the same beat! In our studios now, we can dance to whatever beat or music enthralls us that day – we are very fortunate!