We Did It!

To me, the art for social justice camp was the most incredible and reassuring experience. It has been forever since I had the opportunity to be there when a lesson was introduced and to help students formulate ideas through the planning stages. I think what amazed me most of all was the difference I felt when teaching at this camp compared to teaching in Gadsden. Although Gadsden was a more realistic scenario because students may not have necessarily wanted to be there, it was great to see the best possible scenario during our time at the camp. It has reminded me of why I wanted to get into teaching art in the first place, a memory that seemed to get lost a little over time.

During our time at the camp, I wanted to see if I could overcome one of my biggest fears: reaching an unreachable student. Every one gave me advice in handling this student, especially Sara and Mrs. B. If the process of helping this student get out of their shell a little bit has taught me anything, it is how easy it is to give up. It is so easy to look the other way when a student isn’t being cooperative. It is so easy to be insensitive in terms of willingness to understand where a student is coming from and say something blunt like “Well, you’re going to fail then” or something like that. Even though that sort of response couldn’t be used in a summer camp, it is easy to pass kids that don’t cooperate as “bad” or speak to them as if they have a bad attitude or are trying to wrong you on a personal level. Sometimes this is not the case at all. It is so important to be understanding in these situations and to lead your actions with an open mind and heart. If anything, I understand this student’s situation well because I can relate to him. I was there before, and art camp has changed me drastically in the past. When teaching a real art class, it may not be as easy to reach a specific student in a matter of 4 days, but it is still possible to reach them in a school year or even a semester.

I have also learned that students are way smarter and more perceptive than I could have ever imagined. Every one of the kids at the camp was so incredibly smart and aware of the world, who they are in the world, and what they can bring to the world. I was so impressed. I was also extremely impressed with every one of us. I have seen the art teacher in every one and it makes me so proud to learn alongside such strong and caring women!

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3 thoughts on “We Did It!

  1. It was absolutely amazing to see how this student connected with you! During the camp, you gave some very helpful words of advice, by saying, “You just need to listen patiently and give him time to respond.” I think this experience can translate very easily into situations that will occur in our classrooms. Sometimes if we find it hard to connect to a student, it may be helpful to go to another teacher for advice on how to connect or interact with them. Keeping open dialogue with fellow employees is important in creating a community based school atmosphere. If the students see you trying, then they will respect you more regardless if they engage with you or not (especially the shy ones).

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  2. When it comes to introverted students it is important not to give up on them. I was always the crazy loud girl in class that was never afraid to talk to anyone really. When I made friends growing up looking back they were all pretty much introverts. People that are shy and reserved still have lots to say but maybe lack the motivation to express their feelings on a regular basis like me. (This fascinates me!) Since these students are usually quiet it is easy to ignore them and maintain the wild child in the classroom instead. Art can be a great tool for more introverted students. These students can learn from you to use art as a tool to express emotion without having to be in the limelight. I think you can relate to some students like Robert and have come soooooooo far from that point in your art career. Showing them that it is ok to be a little reserved sometimes, but use art to turn their soft voices into beautiful LOUD works of art!

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  3. That is a fear i share as well, and unfortunately I did not take to opportunity in camp to practice the skills needed to reach a student that is reserved. I think what you did is wonderful and the fact that you want to LEARN how to achieve this goal is even better. I feel like a lot of people pass it off as all on the child, but in reality it is a two way street. I also strongly agree that those students were way smarted and artistically inclined than i had expected! This is something that really excites me because it means that i can push them to be even petter than i though i could! I am excited to see how everything we learned will translate in the real classroom.

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