Column: Tatted Up Teachers, part 1

By Olivia Sampson, Managing Editor of Community and Culture

Have you ever noticed a teacher with tattoos and wondered why they got them? Payton teachers have a variety of designs on their skin, and the Paw Print was intrigued to learn about some of their favorites.

Clockwise from top left: Wallace and Hanna, the canine inspiration for Mr. Williams’ tattoos, Mr. Dvorak’s Hobbes ink, Ms. Picard’s colorful animal patterns, Mx. Scigousky’s crystal ball art, and Mx. Lee’s meaningful puzzle piece design.

Mr. Williams

Social studies teacher Mr. Williams has five tattoos in total, but two are tied for his favorite. The first tattoo is located on his right forearm, featuring a skeleton sitting in a Lazy Boy armchair with a glass bottle in his hand. “One of my dog Wallace’s many nicknames is ‘Lazy Bones Jones,’ and that is what the tattoo represents,” Mr. Williams explained. “Lazy for the Lazy Boy armchair, Bones for the skeleton, and Jones because he is holding a Jones Soda in his hand.”

His other favorite tattoo is on the back of his right arm. It is a paw print of his family dog Hanna who passed away a couple of years ago. “She was a great pup who meant a lot to me and my family, and after she passed away, the vet gave us a scan of her paw print as a way to remember her, so I decided to get it tattooed on me,” Mr. Williams shared.

Ms. Picard

Asking someone to pick a favorite tattoo isn’t always easy, according to art teacher Ms. Picard. “My tattoos are a document of my experiences, my choices, and my life really.” Ms. Picard said, “So I don’t have a favorite cause they all matter.”

One of them is the first is the Luna Moth on her left elbow. “I got it because one day in my senior year of college, my brother had just died two weeks prior, and I was trying to process the grief while on a field trip around Providence Rhode Island with my class. It was rainy, and the whole city was gray. And then on the pavement, in the middle of the gray, there was a Luna moth at my feet. And I stopped… the thing was huge and vibrant, and beautiful… so that was significant to me.” 

Her most recent one was inspired by a trip. “I was in Hawaii on this boat with some folks, and I decided to go swimming with a snorkel,” she shared. “As I was swimming a huge green sea turtle decided to just emerge from the ocean right next to me. We hung out for about a minute, eye to eye, before someone started yelling ‘it’s a sea turtle’ and clamored to break up our good time. Sea turtle swam off, thankfully, but it was freakin amazing being next to a creature probably as old, if not older than me, with more wisdom, choosing to chill and give me their time. I learned a lot from that moment. So I have the sea turtle tattoo on my lower right leg.” Ms. Picard says she hasn’t named them yet, but she is accepting suggestions!

Mr. Dvorak

Unlike Ms. Picard, Mr. Dvorak had an easy time picking a favorite because he only has one tattoo. “I’ve always loved Calvin and Hobbs and really related to Hobbs’ dry wit and blank stares he gives when confronted with Calvin’s antics,” he said. Mr. Dvorak shared also some important advice, “find a design you like, then wait at least one year before getting that tattoo. That way you don’t end up with a tattoo of a band that broke up, or your significant other that ghosted you or a Zune tattoo. I also went to the tattoo parlor with a friend that tried to pay the artist extra if he made it hurt more, the artist refused…but said he would do it for free. It hurt. So choose your friends (and tattoos) wisely.”

Mx. Scigousky:

Sometimes, people get tattoos because they like the way they look rather than the story behind them. That is the case for art teacher Mx. Scigousky, whose favorite tattoo is on their leg and is a hand holding a crystal ball with a skull in it with some smoke and an eye. “I got it cause it looks cool,” they said.

Mx. Lee:

Math and computer science teacher Mx. Lee’s favorite tattoo represents a celebration of a meaningful moment in their life. “I have a puzzle piece tattoo in the color of the non-binary flag on the back of my neck that I got to celebrate my legal name change.” they shared.

More tattoo stories from more teachers are to be released soon!

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