Well, It's a 4-day weekend. Glad. Looking forward to relaxing with the family, playing Mario Kart and making comics. This week was the first (mostly) full week working in a TAB classroom. It was eye opening. As my good friend Dr. Steven Willis told me, "When you empower kids, it is amazing what they will do." At first, I have to be very honest. It was hard not to control the way they worked. I have some colleagues that this would just give them a stroke. I have always thought of my room as a very free room where kids got to make their own art. What it was was a room where they got to make their own versions of my art or my ideas. So letting go was a little stressful.
I have a student teacher who has been running much of the week so I was able to see how the kids reacted and worked as I sat with them at their tables while making the Eat Paste Journal pages. The kids were sometimes off task but for the most part really worked hard to make and explore their own ideas. One of the most shocking things to happen was to see 4 non-english speaking students making drawings of incredible beauty and detail. Language was not the barrier it was in other classes (although they can't understand the theory stuff). They were successful at making ART.
I also got to spend time with a troubled student who is usually really defiant, make an incredibly detailed drawing of a semi tractor trailer. We got to talking and he became laser-like focused on his work. He was disappointed in his next drawing but we were able to discuss what he needed to work on. I really felt like I was doing some good for these students. It has not only empowered the students as artists but me as a teacher. I am looking forward to seeing what they do as we open the future centers.
In recent years I have discovered that I have a revolutionary in me. Not one concerned with politics but one who sees the arts as an act of revolt against the tedium and the abuse of day to day life. I love that this approach to teaching is facilitating this revolution for my kids. For now, I have a snow day to make stuff so that I can model this behavior to my kiddos. I am fighting the same fight that they are. I want to make my own life more beautiful, more meaningful by creating my own work.