SchoolArts Room

It's all a Matter of Perspective

By Nancy Walkup, posted on Mar 17, 2012

Until I went to China several years ago, I had not given much thought to the country—it seemed impossibly remote for this claustrophobic flyer and my travels, up to this point, focused on Mexico and Europe. Of course, all that changed when the opportunity to go came about and my attentions turned to China. It’s all a matter of perspective.

I tried to leave behind any preconceived notions about China and to be open to the experience. Before I left, I talked to people I knew who had been to China and who shared with me their positive experiences. My group was fortunate in that we did not go as tourists but as fellow educators. We taught art in an elementary school, gave presentations to administrators and teachers, and felt very honored and welcomed.

My perspectives of China and my view of the world have changed as a result of this experience. People everywhere share the same human hopes and dreams and are proud and happy to share their culture. Children don’t care where you come from or how you look as long as you really pay attention.

Since returning, it seems like China is always in the news but maybe that was always true and I just wasn’t paying attention. My China experience made me wonder what else I have missed because I wasn’t paying enough attention. It also showed me that, if I can go to China, then I can go anywhere (maybe even all the way to Australia!).

Now I realize not everyone can travel to the ends of the earth but we can all pay more attention to multiple perspectives of viewing and experiencing other people, other cultures, other places, and other ways of thinking. I invite you to share your perspectives with your fellow art teachers through SchoolArts. You can find our writer’s guidelines on our SchoolArts website.