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Re: [teacherartexchange] Mixed classes, Randy

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_at_TeacherArtExchange
Date: Wed Aug 17 2005 - 19:00:20 PDT


Linda:
    Have you kept in touch with this girl? Just wondering how life is going
for her and her accomplishments????
She's sounds like a dynamo!

BF
----- Original Message -----
From: <lindwood@webtv.net>
To: "TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group"
<teacherartexchange@lists.pub.getty.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, August 17, 2005 8:10 AM
Subject: [teacherartexchange] Mixed classes, Randy

> This challenge sounds exactly as you described it...a very interesting
> year. She is obviously in your class for the right reasons, her passion
> for art. Since she is going to be blind soon, I think you should have a
> very frank talk with her at the start of the year about working together
> to make her art class as perfect as it can be for her. Ask her if she
> has some preconceived goals that she wants to accomplish. I'd forget
> standards if she has trouble accomplishing everything you want the rest
> of the class to do and go with art for art's sake for her. She may feel
> like she has a mission to accomplish in your class. Find out what it
> is. I was at Arrowmont for a clay class with a young adult who had
> retinitis pigmentosa. She was also going blind. She had pinpoint
> central vision but her peripheral vision was almost gone. The state of
> Tennessee was actually paying her tuition in order for her to learn a
> trade... how to work with clay. She had to think about what she was
> going to do for a career, and she decided she wanted to be a potter. I
> loved talking to her and hanging out with her. I wish I knew how to get
> in touch with her now. She was DRIVEN to learn all that she could, and
> her skills began to really blossom during the course. I agree that clay
> would be an excellent medium for your student to try to get used to
> working with for obvious reasons...she can feel it when she can no
> longer see it. Maybe she did not have a good teacher before for her
> clay classes. There is so much to teach about clay! But then, there is
> that Czech or Yugoslavian (?) blind artist, can't think of his name...he
> paints realistic scenes and he is TOTALLY blind. It's amazing. You
> can't know what she is going to do or want to do until you talk with
> her. I would even call her now, before your class starts and tell her
> how thrilled you are to be her teacher and ask if you could meet with
> her before your class starts. Find out her background, what she can do
> now. And DEFINITELY keep us informed of how it's going. I would be so
> excited about sharing the experience with her. Challenging, to say the
> least, but most likely a somewhat spiritual journey for her as she
> realizes her sight is leaving her soon.
> Years ago I worked with a child in a 2nd grade class who physically
> looked like a thalidomide child. Remember the arms and fingers of those
> children from the 50's, I think, who were given or their moms were given
> thalidomide, some drug for what, I don't know. Anyway, this child had
> no legs, only feet that were rather ducklike, under her torso. She had
> some artificial legs that she sometimes wore and sometimes didn't. She
> was in a wheelchair cart that she could drive. Her hands were webbed
> fingers with a thumb, and not even all of her fingers developed. Her
> arms were deformed, barely any forearm, her hands were right below the
> elbow. At first I was really panicky about teaching her. I had no idea
> what to do for her. But right away, on day one, that fear or unease
> dissolved. She told me how to help her. Most of the time I had to get
> her paper set up, put out her paints or materials in front of her and
> then just stand back and drop my jaw in awe of what she coud do. I grew
> to love this little girl so much because she taught us so much. She had
> a spirit that just wouldn't quit. The kids were just great about not
> doing everything for her, but being there for her anytime she asked for
> help. She could outsew and outpaint most kids in the class. I let her
> tell me what direction she wanted to go in most of the time, and she
> always had a plan. She completely redefined my previous image of what a
> "handicapped" person was. The girl coming into your class must have a
> "can do" philosophy to want to be taking your class. Most likely,
> honesty and communication will be vital to your relationship, above all
> else. Keep us informed! My student moved to Louisianna when she
> entered 3rd grade. Our school felt a tremendous loss when she moved
> away as she was loved so much and respected by all of us. I think you
> are going to love this year!
>
> Linda
>
> Visit our Lower and Middle School Art Gallery Sites:
> www.sjs.org
> Click on Arts, Lower School or Middle School, Gallery
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