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Re: train wrecks

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lindwood_at_TeacherArtExchange
Date: Tue Nov 30 2004 - 05:18:08 PST


San, I love your honesty and sense of humor with your students.
Yup...most of them won't be artists, but while we have them we treat
them like they are artists. Why not even tell them that. Beautiful.
And your bit about experimentaton and some becoming train wrecks,
laughing about it, and then moving on. OH YES! Wouldn't it be sad to
diminish a kid's self esteem because of an experimentation turned train
wreck?!? To get them to laugh about it is to let them stay playful
about art instead of turning the process into some sort of angst filled
personal failure, which as we all know CAN happen. We all know stories
about kids who didn't used to like art or we know adults who are fearful
and shy away from even drawing a simple thing like a Christmas tree or a
pumpkin! How many times have you had someone (adult) walk into your
room and ask you to draw something so simple. So funny that in many
cases it never even occurred to this adult to ask a child in their class
to do it for them if they were so fearful of trying it themselves. I
guess they think there is one right way to do it, and they certainly
don't know it. Either that person never learned to experiment or that
person was turned off long ago. My husband is a fantastic writing
teacher who delights in seeing his students experiment with writing to
find their voice. In fact, one of his most successful classes was
called "Experimentation in Form," and it was about turning a poem into
an essay, or an essay into a play, or a story into a poem, etc. He uses
a lot of art as motivation for writing, or he finds a photograph to
inspire. Since many of his students continue to sign up year after
year, he has to come up with all new assignments each year. I love
seeing what he comes up with, and he's constantly buying postcards, or
cards, or ripping out pictures from magazines, or using my art prints to
use as inspiration. He's been writing since he was about 15. BUt, in
college, he had a really unusual experience. One of his teachers gave
him a C in a writing course. Chris wrote what he wanted to write but
what he wrote didn't always fit the assignment, I suppose. Anyway,
imagine his surprise when that same teacher called him years later to
ask him to take over his classes when he retired. I guess his vision of
what creativity and finding your own voice means changed for him since
the time he taught Chris. From that point forward, they became great
friends. Chris never dreamed he would become a teacher. That man who
could have wrecked his self esteem years ago (but didn't) opened a door
for him years later. He LOVES teaching, and he is fantastic at it. I
don't know how I ended up writing about this based on my response to San
D's post, but it is a neat story, isn't it?

Linda Woods

Visit our student's web art gallery at St.John's School

www.sjs.org
 click on "Stories of SJS," click on "Arts Stories," click on Linda
Woods' name. View artwork by Lower, and Middle School students as well
as our art archives.

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