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.