pablo picasso

pablo picasso was never called an asshole.

i have two children: one, BC, who will tell me anything and everything about her day from a minute-by-minute perspective; and jools, who may occasionally share a nugget or two beyond my day went okay if the sky is a certain shade of blue, the moon is in the seventh house, and jupiter might be somehow aligning with mars. i usually get my best info from jools while walking home from the school bus in the afternoon if he hasn’t decided to run ahead with other children or hang back, picking up sticks or plodding along with our neighbor’s mellow, slow-trudging lab.

it was one of those wonderful days when i just had to pick the boy up from the bus and he held my hand the whole way home. (well, almost. sometimes, the snow on the side of the road is too hard to resist.) as usual, i asked him about his day; whether classes went well, whether this one bully continued to torture him by telling him he had a small head, that sort of thing. he had had art that day; and i asked how that went.

well, he mused, i have decided that i am not going to get upset anymore whenever art teacher tells me that my work is scribble-scrabble. i’m going to like my work anyway.

hold the phone?

did art teacher actually tell you your work was ‘scribble scrabble’? in those words?

yes, the boy replied. he doesn’t like when people color outside the lines.

i have almost had enough of this art teacher. BC, who is creative and imaginative as the next kid, who normally LOVES art, especially when she has had art teacher #2, used to come home in tears last year because of this teacher. he would berate her for not drawing the way he wanted people to draw. he would criticize her every work. mom, she once told me, he only likes you and your work if you are an actual talented artist. i’m not.

i still remember his one line comment on her report card. and i quote: BC seems to like art.

yeah, well she did before she had you as a teacher.

so now, while BC has the nice art teacher, jools is stuck with the less-than-supportive art teacher.  and he has been taking it on the chin for a few months now, trying his best.

i think this art teacher might be laboring under the impression that he is preparing these children for the sorbonne or something.  maybe my thinking is a little too basic, but i like to think that an art teacher’s job is to try to get kids excited about art — to see art all around them, to provide them another way to communicate to the world their vision of what they see and how they feel. absolutely, there are technical ideas that they need to convey about colors and perspective and such.

but not every kid will be pablo picasso.

it doesn’t mean you have to make that child feel like an asshole.

7 Responses to “pablo picasso”

  1. Oh, wow. That teacher sucks with a capital “S.” I am SO proud of J for being such a man about it. Way to go, Jools!!

    Art is supposed to be FUN! You’re supposed to learn about artists and all the fun ways to express yourselves with all those fun mediums like paper mache and staining paints and stuff.

    Annoying teacher.

    Thumbs up to Jools!!!

  2. I cannot resist commenting here. In Waldorf schools – which are VERY art-focused, it is considered VERY BAD for a teacher to indicate a child should color in the lines. I believe the rationale is that each child explores art in a different way, and if they’re not allowed to explore it their way, then some important artistic development can be missed. By causing a child to only draw in the lines, development can be stunted and worse, the ability to express one’s self artistically can be lost. SCRIBBLE SCRABBLE is both acceptable (as you already know) and appropriate (as you also know – but I feel like I have to point out – and you can find support for it in Waldorf art books if you want to, although the art teacher would likely not be impressed because he’s an ass). I consider myself a nonviolent person, but I would like to punch this art teacher in the face. He is the REASON that kids stop drawing, and sort themselves into the “not artistic” world. There’s a children’s book where the art teacher insists everything be her way, and the child in the book refuses, and then eventually the art teacher opens up and allows things to be the “wrong” color, etc. If I run across it again, I’ll send it your way.

    OK – this is rambling, but it seriously makes me mad. As mad as when Ed tells the story of a middle-school music teacher who told him, before a concert “you know, Ed, if you just hold your trumpet to your mouth and move your fingers, no one will know if you’re playing or not”. Yes, Ed is the least musical person I have ever met in my life, but COME ON!

    I LOVE that jools is committed to liking his work anyway. He’s being raised by the right people!

  3. Younger Stepson, who normally really likes art, hates art class — because he has to draw what they want him to draw, not what he wants to draw. Too bad they don’t encourage kids.

  4. I used to take my kids to a toddler arts and crafts program which was held through the township recreation program. I used to get SO frustrated with the teacher who insisted on “correcting” my toddler’s work. I mean, if she wanted to put three google eyes and two tails on her bunny, who cares? I eventually ended up “standing guard” over her and not letting the teacher near her while she was working. She would stalk by and sneer “Oh ummmm that’s CUTE”, and I’d grin and say, “Yes, it’s absolutely PERFECT”.

  5. Catherine Says:

    I think you should request meeting with the art teacher and ask for the principal and homeroom teachers to be present. That’s BS. It’s not his place to belittle children they get enough of that from their peer group and the media. Is he older? He might need reminding that in *this* century we encourage. Not everyone is a Picasso doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have the opportunity to enjoy the act.

  6. Ugh. That makes me so angry.

    It’s amazing the impact that teachers can have on our development of talents and interests. Not to mention self-esteem. A good teacher can help us grow so much. A bad one can stunt us.

  7. west side art teacher Says:

    I am an art teacher and can tell you that scribble scrabble is the name used by both kids and teachers to describe work that is poorly done or rushed. A friend had a principal visit her room and one girl who had rushed through the work, putting forth no effort sprung up and showed him her work, he raved about the piece of trash, and later the child laughed about him, saying he said my scribble scrabble crap was great…

    Also you must know in an age of accountablity we are held accountible for specific learning by students, so lots of times we must have the students do the work they are assigned, not what they want to do…blame NCLB.

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