Written April 18, 2015
Frau Rosenow was one of my teachers for a little over three years. My family was stationed in West Germany (when it was still called that) and the American school in the area was rather small. I want to say there was an average of 54 students in the school. The school had students from Kindergarten through 8th Grade—roughly 5 year olds through 14 year olds. Most classrooms had multiple grade levels to one teacher. With few exceptions, that one teacher taught everything. One of the exceptions was Frau Rosenow. She was the Host Nation teacher and the librarian. She taught most, possibly all, grade levels for a period a day. She taught us about our host nation, West Germany, and taught us the German language. She also had a lot to do with supporting the creativity of her students.
I remember her library being a safe haven for me.
Every memory I have of art at that school has Frau Rosenow in it.
I don't remember if we had an actual art class, but Frau Rosenow kept us motivated to make art and to write. She was the one I remember submitting and going over entries for the DoDDs art and writing competitions. She lead most of the field trips and always pointed out art and architecture while we were out and about. I missed a field trip to the Van Gogh exhibition when it was nearby, and she took a friend, who was also a budding artist, and myself to go see it. We didn't get inside since the line wrapped all the way around the block, but she took time out of her own life to try to make that happen for us. There was always time with Frau Rosenow—and there was always art and writing and even singing.
Yes, she ruled her Host Nation classroom with a bit of an iron fist. I saw it as her way of keeping focused on what needed to be done: Sharing information and inspiring thought and creativity. There was structure with enough time for play, experimentation, and even risk taking. I tore 1/3 of a tiger drawing away and she let me submit it to a competition. It did very well and even went on display. I messed around with trying to make abstract art and she let me submit those weird paintings, too. They did not do so well, but I learned from it. That always seemed to be her goal. She wanted her students to keep learning and keep trying.
So, even decades later, I keep learning and keep trying. I keep reaching for things that I don't really think I'll get because if I don't try, I will never prove myself wrong.
The featured image for this post is Cloud Zebra copyright Sarah Soward 2016.