An alternate title for this one could even be Artistic License in Smackdown with Bad Teachers.
Every now and then we encounter experiences that remind us in striking terms that some people are not cut out to be teachers, and just exactly why we educate our children at home. These experiences don’t necessarily occur in the context of the brick-and-mortar schools, but rather in everyday activities.
Our most recent experience was during a birthday party celebration at Creative Juice, a local art studio/bar that normally caters to adults. Obviously, businesses like this need to make ends meet, so will host birthday parties for children. In this case Secondo was attending a party for the daughter of a family friend. The format is pretty simple: paints and easels are set up with stretched canvas and all participants ironically follow the instructor’s lead in reproducing a creative work of art. This is conceptually similar to KidzArt, which we have also used with great success as general art curricula.
Of course, our Secondo is a free spirit and natural contrarian, so generally he does things in his own way. And this is not surprising when you consider the cosmic conflict between left brained and right brained people. KidzArt has always been accommodating, and with their attitude that “there are no mistakes,” the children proceed to draw their pictures using Sharpies (a “never look back” approach then encourages children to deal with the situation and work with what they have). The results for both Primo and Secondo have been very encouraging as you can see here and here, respectively.
I have nothing but high praise for KidzArt, as represented locally.
So, naturally when given the opportunity to play with something in an artistic manner Secondo is almost always ready to go. This birthday party invitation was no exception.
The birthday girl chose the dog/cat theme, and Secondo did not seem to mind, although I was pretty sure he would turn it into a Pokémon or similar anime characterization. In fact, we expect him to do his own thing, but this is not always accepted, especially by adults.
So as the kids start to sketch the design on the canvas, Secondo does what he always did in the KidzArt class: he grabbed the black paint (instead of the yellow as instructed) and proceeded to draw. Upon seeing this, however, the owner felt is necessary to comment, “we draw with the light colors so if we make a mistake we can fix it.”
Aaaaarrrrrggggghhhhh! Did you really just say that?
As the rest of the left brained group was diligently following instructions, Secondo naturally didn’t want to wait and finished his work to his very right brained satisfaction.
“Doesn’t he want to add more detail?” the owner asked.
No… no he doesn’t you… fur ball in the throat of life.
What unprintable planet do these type of people come from?
Fortunately, our Secondo has been strongly encouraged to seek his own joy, and undaunted continued as he saw fit. His was the only one with pointy ears because he likes his dogs that way.
We are thankful that such naive approaches to instruction have little impact to our children, but only because we’ve worked hard to make it so. However, it makes us wonder what the effect would be on a less confident personality.
This is simple proof that not everyone is cut out to be a teacher, even the so-called professionals. Sometimes it is best to Shut Up and let the kids Color!