For her outstanding contributions as an elementary art teacher, Marilyn is recognized on the Donors’ Wall of Fame by Edna Coldsmith, Ruthann Resch, Ann Doudican, Karen Mallory, Kathy Tidwell, Elmaleda McMinn, and Cathy Birk of Emporia, Kansas.
Marilyn Dailey has had two lifelong passions: teaching art. She became aware of both in a one room country school in the same year, possibly the same day. She was in the second grade, and the lesson was in penmanship. Students were practicing pages of the prescribed strokes required for classic cursive writing. Except for Marilyn, who was gazing out the window at a cow and calf in a nearby pasture.
Before she realized it, she had abandoned the boredom of cursive penmanship and was, instead, sketching what she saw outside. She was soundly reprimanded, as well as embarrassed, but the the next day she found in her desk an artist’s sketch book and a box of water colors.
Her career has been that of art and teaching, created by the teacher who saw the talent and nurtured it. Marilyn was the first in her family to go to college, and graduated from Emporia State University with a BSE in Art Education in 1975. She has taught in a wide variety of situations, and her art students have won numerous awards. Her philosophy of teaching is to bring out in every student the opportunity for creative development, and to nurture it. “Every child is a natural creator in some way,” she strongly believe.
In Marilyn’s own words:
Every Year, at any given special occasion or holiday, I lead a discussion with my 5th graders. We talk about family members, usually mothers or grandmothers or guardians keeping their artwork over the years since kindergarten. Almost all raise hands when I ask “Whose mom has a ‘special box’ under their bed or in the closet with those things in it?” I remind them that this is probably the last homemade Mother’s Day, Christmas, Valentine card they will make in “baby school.” With that discussion, everyone, even the “tough guys” get busy creating something from the heart, by hand. I end the project/lesson by posing a question to them. “If your parents could choose a new Mercedes or a trip around the world, or an original Monet, or that little box of treasures from you, which one do you think they would choose?” It’s a very old fashioned simple lesson plan that evokes a sense of responsibility to their family and most importantly the artwork created comes from the purest place, the heart of a child.