Self Portraits, created by students from Saint Francis de Sales Elementary, 2013/14 school year.
For the last few years, I’ve been teaching art at two different schools. Getting to know the kids over a period of time has its advantages. I appreciate Sally’s beautiful line drawings and Thunder’s colorful and bold designs and it’s easy to guide students to a deeper understanding of art making when you know them and how they approach an assignment. I’m delighted to see all the kid’s skills develop and that moment, around the 4th grade when those who were struggling to understand observational drawing finally grasp how it works, makes me as happy as it does them. Most of my students apply what I teach them and build on previous lessons, and because of this, their artwork is confident and inventive. This year, I’ve added a new school to the mix. One of my teaching partners, Sofia Atmatzidou-Eulgem and I are creating an art program for 230 students grades Kindergarten through 8th.
I’m working with the 4th to 8th grades and any nerves I felt at meeting the kids were soon forgotten. Most of them were enthusiastic and extremely polite and my first day went by in a flash. The students seemed happy to have the opportunity to draw but there are those few worried students that I hope to reach. They were too well-behaved to groan outwardly, but wrapping their arms around their paper to shield it from my view is a sure sign of discomfort and one student erased his whole drawing as the rest of the class was turning in their work. My drawing pencils and I caused some kids to want to be anywhere but in there seats.
Art is a funny thing, most people think you’re either born with the ability to create or you’re not. That everything an artists makes is easy to do and looks amazing when completed. If this were true, the world would be a much more visually exciting place. But art making requires knowledge, thought, ability, perseverance, and the courage to evaluate what you’ve created and make changes when necessary, all skills I try to convey to young artists.
I want all of my students to learn and have a wonderful experience, but most of all I want the worried kids to know that it’s not about being the best, it’s about enjoying the process.
Check out http://creativekidshavefun.com to learn more about our programs and to view our student’s work.