I teach 7th grade world history and all the 7th grade art at my
middle school. At the start of the second semester, as I looked on
my roll sheet for the new art classes, I saw the name of Sean H. and groaned.
"Not Sean H., pleassseeeee.." He had sat through a semester of social studies,
never a problem, but never engaged; true wallpaper. He was always
doodling in his journal when he should have been writing on the topic
of the day. He had a very solid" F" in social studies.
As I looked at Sean's name on my art class list, I got one of those
rare flashes (seldom but wonderful) of insight. I could approach this
in a whole different way. The first day of art class, as Sean slunk
in the door, I greeted him with "Boy, Sean, I've been looking forward
to having you in art; you're such a good artist!" He brightened up considerably
and looked me in the eye. Over a period of the next three weeks,
Sean blossomed into a productive student in both art AND SOCIAL
Sean is now one of my best buddies in both classes. He is my
resident computer whiz and helper of other students. Last Friday,
when I handed out the weekly computer-generated social studies
grades, Sean's grade was an A!! In art, Sean has turned out to be
'native talent' with a great eye for detail, composition and color.
I'm not trying to pat myself on the back. I am just glorying in the
wonder of the moment. It's these quiet moments that remind me that teaching
is a most wonderful career and art can be that magic connection for
Emerson Junior High School