Sometimes I think irrational things like I am not an artist!
I don’t know the cool kids. My instagram aint popping with works in progress,events coming up, images of my travels around the world being awesome and/or my friends who are stylish & also have the poppin Instagrams. My social media is not filled with quotes from smart masterminds. I am not a writer who enjoys writing. The process hurts my nerves and make me roll my eyes to the west.
Sometimes I also believe the superficial over the real. I may not be the artist I want to be now . I am many other things mostly a work in progress. I am learning to be a better believer in my dreams. As my love said in my dream: I got everything I ever asked for. So now its time to make a move. The sky is the limit!
It has been a longtime since I have been on tumblr. Since I have experienced such amazing growth and strength. However last Friday night I lost someone special. Someone I called my child.
Raphael was a sweet and golden child. He was shot and killed last week. Tomorrow marks a week of the last time I saw him, hugged him and heard him say “I love you”. My heart is broken yet open. It is humbling to know I impacted his life.
In my mourning and healing I completed my post on my other blog. Enjoy. Please hug and say I love you to those that you care about.
With a heavy heart
It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. I know this first hand as an educator or as I like to think a partner in the learning of youth. I witness everyday the power of exchanging information, love and experience. I am commonly in awe of the magic that can and does happen in our schools. Like when a student figures something out independent of anyone or anything but with their own curiosity, adults and teenagers having a heated discussion about politics, laughter about our common and uncommon train rides and this magic goes on and on!
The village I have ideally become a part of is essential in the growth of our young people. I learned everyday how to listen to the words spoken and unspoken. I see how important it is for me to come in the door acknowledge my impact on their lives. I have a rare moment everyday to be an agent of change in my village called a school.
As I continue on my journey as a teacher I realize the village also nurtures me. My first year can be summed up in many words: inspiration, confusion, struggle, triumph,pride, humbling, laughter, tears, creative, passionate,frustrating, empowering, liberating, hard, stressful! My first year of teaching is representative of my hard work and an important part this journey. However this road was not traveled alone. As I type this post on Martin Luther King day, I am reminded how many have taken this journey with me. I think of my family who support my long nights of writing, creating and studying throughout graduate school and lesson planning. My mom, an educator, who shares her stories and words of wisdom. My sister who is daring and brilliant. She makes sure I remember to laugh while affirming my warrior spirit. My dad who visits the school during events and manages to make me feel the most amazing person in the room for my efforts. My friends who relate and speak on our experiences as young revolutionary teachers in NYC.
Close to my apartment a tiny restaurant would nurture me with brownies,sweet teas and talks. Everyone there would keep a seat for me at the bar not because I drink liquor but because they knew I needed the space to exhale. The restaurant, called Peaches Hothouse, has also grown into a community center. Today after attending the services for my dear student, Raphael, they nurtured me again. Chivon told me to stay when I proposed going back home to eat. I shouldn’t be alone in this state. She was right. So we ate together. Together in our village not determined by space or land. I thank them for taking care of this teacher.
It truly takes a village.
MAGIC! When you pay attention long enough you will feel the universe moving in a glorious way. As I mature I remember my youth and all the moments that contributed to my growth into womanhood. Recently I read notes left by my high school classmates and teachers from my High School yearbook. My English teacher told me to “never stop fighting for all”. Tears came into my eyes as I realize I am living my life work as a social justice motivated educator.
When I graduated from grad school,the slight sense of panic set in. I NEEDED A JOB! Sadly we live in a world in which art education is not valued as an important part of learning. Therefore finding a job seemed to be close to impossible until I found a job listing on idealist.org. The listing just stated a need for a full time Art teacher. After an entire summer of waiting I got interview.
I nearly jumped out of my chair when I was told the job was at a school that mission was in line with my life mission. It was school that valued the importance of history and the lessons it blesses us with. It was a school in which social justice and identity were at the core of the students learning.
I got the job. A day before school began. I set up my classroom and waited.
Since then the little art room upstairs has been a place of massive creation combined with smiles,tears and plenty of laughs.
I have learned a great deal. I have become a better person. Its more than just teaching for me or a job with steady pay. Its my life work, passion and mission.
Until next time,
TLJ aka Teacher Tiff,Tdollaz,BooBoolandia (some of the names my kids have given me 🙂
I often refer to my grad program as “my soulmate”. My program was centered on the idea that art is power and power is art. It encouraged us to develop into educators that understood the complexity of identity and how deeply connected identity is attached to social injustice, history, and privilege. Furthermore how ones identity and attitudes about the “other” identity effected us a educators and in turn impacts our students. I must say it was the first time ever in my education that my identity, experience and narrative was acknowledged.
The two years I spent in my program provide me with a foundation and honestly a home to explore my passion: teaching, learning and creating, challenging and changing the world as I know into the world I hope it to be. I met people who shared my vision,were open to ask and discuss difficult questions about hegemonic ideas, were out of this world talented, and overall could laugh( we LAUGHED and CRIED equally) I love my classmates ( there I said it). I just love them!
My professors were supportive and challenged me. Most of all they believed in. They are role model master teachers I tell you! Through them I was reminded of how I wanted to treat and nurture my students creativity, curiosity, bad days and etc.
Now that I have graduated I realize how much going back to school was the right decision. I love who I am now and have a ongoing love affair with being Tiffany, the Art Teacher.
Please click to play and ENJOY!
NYU was the only program I applied to. If I didn’t get into the program I wasn’t going to graduate school. I would have accepted it wasn’t part of journey and keep moving on my path of becoming an art educator. Shortly after applying I took a major leap into adulthood and moved to my favorite place in the world BROOKLYN! It was the most pricy and perfect birthday gift I could have given myself!
Of course I moved in with only a bed, old mac desktop,desk and chair. By then a couple months had past before I heard from NYU. I assumed I didn’t get in and avoided inquiring with the department about my application. But one night my mother had wisely convinced me I should send an email to the professor, David Darts, who assisted me in preparing my application. So that night I got the nerve to write and SEND the email. Of course I instantly wipe out any memory of writing the email and went on with my week not checking email the ENTIRE week!
Friday night after a long day of work I came home to my apartment, sat at my desk and EMAIL. To my surprise I had a response from David Darts. My eye went wide and then shut ever so slightly as I clicked on the unread message. In fact my heart is beating heavy just reflecting on that moment. CLICK! I read the message (which went something like this. my email account was hacked and I have since lost the original email response)
“Hey Tiffany. You should receive notification soon about acceptance. We had alot of applicants and the admission office took long in reviewing all the packets.
FYI: You were accepted on the first round which means you don’t need to interview. CONGRATS!”
*EYES WIDE OPEN* SCREAMMMMMMMMMM…………happy loud CRY
I called my family crying. My mother took something happen to me in CRAZY brooklyn, as she says. But once I mumbled a cry of “I GOT IN”. My mother “GOT IN WHAT”. Me “N……..Y…….U…….tears…….crying” My mother ” NYU! SHE GOT IN EVERYBODY SHE GOT IN!” My family in the background “SHE GOT IN”
It was one of the most confirming moments in my life. At that moment I felt ordained, blessed and ready for all the unknown because it was all too magical. What I didn’t know is when you are living you life passion and destiny moments like these occur. Everything at its right time and place….. Im ready even when I feel totally unprepared
Until next time
Welcome to the second installment of TLJ (the life journey) of TLJ (tiffany lenoi jones) .
My times in college were truly amazing. I was part of a group of my peers who were dedicated to changing their communities for the present day and future. Most of all I intended in fostering communities that the youth could flourish in. Therefore lead discussions about issues, produced non-profit cultural events and mentored in a public school. I loved it. There was nothing like seeing the moments of acknowledgment and learning on the faces of the people I worked with. I was apart of change and change was apart of me
Shortly after undergrad I researched graduate school programs. This is when I found the Art Education program at NYU. Their motivations,mission and approach to art education acknowledged the communicative and socially changing nature of art in the lives of children. *sigh* It was the first step in me blossoming into TLC by TLJ. I found my soul mate! I wrote this poem once I decided to apply:
I close my eyes
Think of their pain
Hope my pencil will reveal their healing
Curve my sharp lines so my dose of love can go down smooth and easy
Add colors of the earth so they recognize its power
Mix the past, present and future within each stroke
Leave pieces of my essence within the cracks
Stand back from my blessed creation.
Pray they will accept it, understand it and learn from it
This my offering of gratitude to them
They lifted my veil so I can SEE
And demanded me to reach only for greatness
I respond with strength courage and dedication
until next time
TLJ by TLJ
Welcome to the first installment of TLJ (the life journey) of TLJ (tiffany lenoi jones) .
At moments of awakening I have heard many people say “the lightbulb came on” aka THE BIG IDEA. For me the moment I knew being a teaching artist was my calling it was like seeing the sun. IT WAS A NEW DAY! Now I am a NYC certified Art Education teacher! WOW! Its been a journey! Has had its ups and downs but I have learned a great deal and made some great art. On this blog I intend on recording my journey for viewers to enjoy, learn from and just read 🙂
After graduating from undergrad I had a moment of soul searching. I worked freelance as a designer, event planning assistant and invested in my art. Soon the woes for health insurance and steady income superseded my free artist lifestyle. I was hired a coordinator for a record company while I LOVED my co-workers and fun of the music industry my job’s daily routine lacked interaction,creativity and chances to influence social change. I knew I needed a change in my career but WHAT!
I reflected on times when my soul felt at peace. I remembered my days as an art activist in college. It was so exciting, creative and rewarding. I was involved with my community and creating art that impacted those around me. I needed this feeling AGAIN! But how could my love for art,social change and education all combine into a DREAM CAREER?
-until next time TLJ