Sunday, July 5, 2009

What I'm made of

Tomorrow I am starting week four of summer camp. I am psyching myself up for another busy, yet good week. I am less than thrilled about the curriculum scheduled this week, however, I'm adding my own spin. The students have been great. The kicker is the counselors who seem to WANT to get on my last nerve by taking paper and drawing when I've explicitly said I do not want adults to draw in my class. I even printed up a helpful Do/Don't informational sheet for the counselors at the beginning. Yeah, I got a couple, "what, we can't make anything?" but I explained it on the sheet. Still, there are the counselors who either forgot, are new, or are just bucking my system purposefully who start drawing before I even realize it. Of course the kids are just in awe of the counselor's abilities, even though the counselor says he/she's not a good drawer. Once the drawing has started, I don't say anything. What am I to do, snatch the paper out from under them?

I've come up with a good analogy. The camp doesn't allow counselors/teachers to "score" on a camper in any sports game or to pitch anything other than underhanded, gentle lobs. This is because adults are stronger and have better motor skills than the kids. It's the same thing in art. The kids can't compare to the adult's more developed motor skills and experience. Hence, adults should not draw for children.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm ready for this full-time work thing, if I'm up to it. The kids I teach right now are good kids, easy. Few discipline issues. What about when I have some really tough cookies? What about when I'm developing all the curriculum on my own? What about when I'm sick and tired and I just want a week off? I wonder if I even want to work with kids every day. It's exhausting. It ages you. Have you ever seen a retired teacher you knew as a working teacher? They are completely different! They suddenly have less wrinkles, better hair, brighter eyes, relaxed smiles. I ran into my fifth grade teacher a few years after she'd retired. She was volunteering at a local museum. She looked so much younger than I'd remembered. And I've gone back and looked at pictures to compare. She really did look older her final year teaching (after my brother's class, which is how I have the pictures) than she did 6 years later. Well, if I ever get a job we'll find out just what I'm made of.

No comments: