Teacher Does Not Score A Perfect Ten

, , , , , , , | Learning | June 26, 2017

My art teacher in high school was a piece of work. He was a good artist, but he had a very narrow view of what constituted ‘art’ — anything even vaguely cartoon-ish didn’t count, for example. He also tended to play favorites. For a while I was one of the favorites, but something changed in my senior year and he started to get hyper-critical of my work.

That year I was in an AP art class, since I intended to go to college for illustration. Some of the assignments he gave us were insane, especially for a high school class, but the nadir of the class for me was an assignment where he wanted 12(!) finished pieces, all in different styles, in two weeks. That’s almost a piece a day, and insane when you consider we had all of our other classes to consider, too.

I worked my absolute hardest, and managed to come up with 10 pieces. Not all of them were very good, but what do you expect on that deadline? I got to the class to find that, in spite of my worries over being two pieces short, I actually had the most pieces out of everyone there. Most only had three or four, and a few only had one or two, though admittedly they were all higher quality than mine.

However, I did not get any kind of recognition from the teacher for all of my work. In fact, he continually picked up various pieces of mine and referred to them as ‘crap’ in comparison with my peers, and he didn’t even mention the 12-piece goal that I was the only person to come even close to hitting. By the end I was crying silently in the back of the critique group.

Thankfully, the whole spectacle was so ridiculous that my classmates — even the ones receiving positive feedback from him — stood up for me, and one of his ‘favorites’ spent most of the critique rubbing my back and telling me she was impressed that I managed to do as much as I had in so little time, and that the teacher was completely out of line for talking about my art the way he was. But I do attribute a lot of my anxiety with my art now to that class, and the way he moved the goalposts.

Couldn’t Have Written It Any Clearer

, , , , | Related | June 22, 2017

(I have been writing fiction for almost twelve years now, and would love to get something published. Until then, and having just graduated college, I am searching for a job while still trying to balance my writing. I have recently adopted a schedule of writing for an hour a day before dinner, as a way to keep focused and not get too burned out from job hunting.)

Me: “Okay, now to do some writing.”

Mom: “Apply to five jobs first.”

Me: “No… writing is more important right now.”

Mom: “Why? There’s no money in writing.”

(Thanks for letting me know after twelve years what you really think of my dreams, mom.)

So THAT’S Why Mona Lisa Was Smiling

, , , , , | Learning | June 19, 2017

(Our teacher gives us twenty minutes at the end of a lesson on Friday to ask the most random questions and then debate one of them. We write them down and put them into a tombola for her to pick out of. The last few weeks every topic has been asking whether a prominent historical figure was gay, so this week she has pleading and praying that there isn’t another one.)

Teacher: *picking a topic* “Oh, for pity’s sake!”

(She turns around and writes the question on the whiteboard.)

Question: “Was Leonardo da Vinci gay?”

(She sat down and took some ibuprofen before letting us debate. Unbeknownst to her, we have all been putting those questions in the hat this month!)

Graded A Bee Plus

, , , , , , | Learning | June 15, 2017

(During my senior year of high school, I sign up to take a class called ‘Preschool Lab.’ It is a class where we teach pre-schoolers between the ages of three to five, and create weekly lesson plans. This class is mainly for students who are either planning on going into early childhood education or are thinking about it. Although this class is a lot of fun and I enjoy working with the children and seeing them grow, the teacher can come off as rude every once in a while if we do something that is beyond her expectations, especially when it comes to their art projects. It is the first day of preschool class during the spring semester and we have two new students who have just turned three years old and are also twins. They are the youngest while the other students are between the ages of four and five. A lot of my classmates and teachers are frustrated with the twins because they do their own thing but they begin to become attached to me and only want to work with me. One day we are working on creating bumblebees and I am helping one of the twins create hers. She puts one eye near the top of the paper and the other eye near the nose. Since my teacher likes all of the projects to be the exact same way and “perfect,” I open my mouth to correct her but when she smiles proudly and is so excited that she put the eyes on by herself, I don’t have the heart to tell her it is wrong. I don’t think it will be a big deal, since she did everything else correctly, so I decide to praise her.)

Me: “[Twin #1]! I love your bumblebee. It’s so good! Well done!”

(As I say this, I notice the classmate next to me look over at it and frown, then get up to talk to the teacher. The twin begins laughing and turns around to show her sister, who also did the eyes a little unevenly but is also really proud of herself. When I hear my teacher clear her throat behind me, I look up and to my surprise, she looks furious.)

Teacher: “[Classmate], help [Twin #1] and [Twin #2] fix the eyes while I talk to [My Name] outside.”

(My classmate tries to help the twins fix their artwork but they immediately put their hands on their artwork to prevent her and start to cry. When I get in the hallway, my teacher glares at me and I know what is about to happen.)

Teacher: “[My Name], you know all of the pre-schooler’s projects have to be exactly the same. Why on earth would you encourage those twins to do their projects incorrectly?”

Me: “They are proud of their artwork and I wasn’t going to discourage them just because it isn’t the same as the other classmates.”

Teacher: “But I expect you to! If the parents saw that their artwork were different from the other students, they will start to think their children are stupid and can’t do a simple task!”

(I have met the twins’ parents multiple times and I know for a fact they would want me to encourage their children, no matter how different their work turns out from their classmates.)

Me: “I’m sorry but they were proud of themselves for finishing their artwork and when [Classmate] tried to correct them, they got upset. Not every student’s artwork has to be the exactly the same as each other and it doesn’t mean they are stupid. I’m not going to discourage them over a little mistake when they did everything else correctly.”

Teacher: *sighs* “I don’t think the twins are adjusting to the preschool. I think it’s time for me to talk to the parents to consider pulling them out and when they see their bumblebees I’m sure they will see where I’m coming from. In the future, [My Name], make sure that EVERY project is exactly the same as the other students and that they are perfect. I’m afraid I’m going to have to deduct points from you today for not following instructions.”

(When we go back into the classroom, I notice the twins are still crying and refusing to let my classmate fix their bees, and when my teacher instructs my classmate to let it go, she moves on to the next kid. When I sit back down next to the twins, they show me their bees again and I smile at them and tell them they did a very good job while ignoring the glares my classmate and teacher are giving me. When the class is over, my teacher pulls the twins’ parents aside to talk to them about how the twins aren’t adjusting, but when they see their parents, the twins grab their artwork and run over to them.)

Twin #1: “Mommy, Daddy! Look, I made a bee!”

Twin #2: “Look at my bumblebee, Mommy and Daddy!”

(The parents look at the bumblebees and look at the teacher, and back at the twins, and say:)

Mother: “Oh, [Twin #1] and [Twin #2], these are beautiful bees! I love the way the eyes are!”

Father: “Wow! These are perfect bees and are going right on our fridge! Good job, girls!”

Teacher: “But do you see why I don’t think the girls are ready for preschool? See how uneven the eyes are compared to the other student’s bees?”

Father: “Of course they are going to be different from the other students! They just turned three. It’s not going to be perfect but that doesn’t mean they aren’t ready for preschool!”

Mother: “We are very proud of our girls for attempting it and we want our daughter’s artwork to stand out from the other students. If you don’t believe in our children like we do then I don’t think this is the right preschool for us.”

Father: “Come on, girls! How about we take you out for a little ice cream for doing a good job today at preschool?”

(Before my teacher could open her mouth to argue, the parents grabbed their stuff and left the classroom. Surprisingly the twins did come back the next day and by the end of the semester, they were probably the most creative students out of the entire class. Even though my teacher never apologized to me or gave me my points back, the twins still insisted to only work with me and she never again criticized me or deducted points from me for letting them do their own thing!)

Take A Pause And Consider Equality

, , , , , | Friendly | June 14, 2017

(I have a rainbow flag pin with equal signs for marriage equality. As I’m walking home from school with a friend she notices my button.)

Friend: “Why do you have a pause button on your backpack?”

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