Hit the Ground Running.

I arrived in Nablus yesterday, the ease of entry via Israel making me wish I had brought more: my book The Battle for Justice in Palestine, more art supplies for the classroom, more clothes. Live and learn, or not: my roommate, who is a teacher just like me, was held and interrogated for 12 hours when she arrived in Tel Aviv via Bangkok last week. A lawyer working for the school who had our visas pre-approved was notified, and eventually my roommate was allowed to pass through.

According to the returning 2015 staff, last year’s crop of international teachers saw 10 deportations immediately upon arrival. Just five of these teachers made it back to Palestine to carry out their teaching contracts. That could have been me, so maybe it’s just as well I didn’t bring that potentially controversial book.

I had just one day, today, to set up my classroom. As I worked, a brief flash of wistfulness grabbed at me as I remembered the art classrooms I have been a part of back in the U.S. Suddenly, the tight budgets and paltry pay of the past seemed lucrative and luxurious, and I realized just how industrious I would need to be–in terms of both materials and time–in order to make this experience successful for me and my students.

Classroom before setup
My classroom when I first walked in this morning…
...and my classroom when I left today!
…and my classroom when I left today!

This evening, as I scrolled through Facebook, pangs of envy washed over me anew. Members of my 2015 Master in Teaching cohort began to post images of their new classrooms, and their clean, cheery, lush spaces appear so very nice, so very well-funded. It’s all a matter of perspective, I suppose.

In spite of wistful and envious moments coupled with jet lag and culture shock, I am enthusiastic about the challenges ahead. I can’t wait to start teaching tomorrow!

12 thoughts on “Hit the Ground Running.

  1. Welcome (back) to your new home, Katie! I am sure the shock of hitting the ground running will ease into a bittersweet routine of sorts. Just remember why you chose this path… You are bringing beauty and richness, and most importantly, the permission and means to freedom through expression of heART.
    “You only have to let the soft animal of your body
    love what it loves.” Teach them that. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LOVED the blog, Katie. What a relief you crossed the border with so little problem. You transformed your classroom!

    It’s going to be an amazing year. In a few days you’ll be caught up on you sleep and feelin’ good. Leaves, rocks, found objects–there are so many wonderful art supplies all around you.

    Your entire family is waiting to send you care packages. All we need is your address and a list of items you need (that you think will be able to cross the border…).

    Thinking of you with love,

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Friend,
    Thanks for sharing the start of your teaching year in Palestine! Your writing style has matured with time in a most lovely, reflective way and is a pleasure to read.
    The spartan classroom look is quite familiar to me (for these rural AK residencies, setting up in old storage rooms and the like.) Yes, its both a tad discouraging and all relative. The important thing, I’ve found, is to make the space your own, which you have done. The nice window with a curtain is a bonus!!!
    Can’t wait to hear more.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you all for your insightful and inspiring comments!! It is so heartening to “hear” your beautiful voices and resolute support.


  5. You will be a rock star, Katie. Remember, cave artists used dirt and charcoal, berries and leaves. Art is about making marks and leaving a Piece of yourself behind. Let me know what you wish for…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Marci!! I have been thinking of you. I learned SO MUCH by working with you in your classroom. Thank you for your constant guidance and support!


  6. KT to the IE!

    We think of you every time we look at the butterfly mobile you made for little Sadie Lu. It still hangs in her room as one of the simplest, yet most beautiful, pieces of art she has and for a three-year-old she actually has quite a collection already! We are sharing your journey with her. I’ll let you know if she has any art project questions….

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kat! So great to hear from you. Thank you for checking out the blog. I am so happy that Sadie Lu still has her mobile! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Please keep in touch. Much love to you, Stu, and Sadie Lu.


  8. Courage Katie! Courage! 🙂 Lovely blog! Congrats on the lovely transformation of your classroom! And when you are looking at classrooms in other places – just remember – all teaching is a challenge – the challenges are different. xotara

    Liked by 1 person

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