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Throwing Myself In The Den

Our schools art teacher has a very impressive resume. He has been teaching art techniques and Art History for over 30 years. His students range from Elementary School, High School, College age to inmates in prison. He claims to have worked with them all but, he told me, a particular group brings him to the conclusion that "Life is too short" and he's thinking of retiring. This particular group? The middle school kids at our school.

Yikes.

Now, I know I'm harping on a theme here. But it's my daily life and I'm hoping, by throwing out my concern and aggrevation, that someone will share some tools to help deal with these kids that are so lost and seem to be heading down a very bad path.

I decided to volunteer for this class. I wanted to be there and see how it was getting so out of hand. I’ve heard stories of all paint being taken from the 8th graders because they would load up their brushes and flick them at each other. I've heard of a student so defiant about not wanting to draw that she stood nose-to-nose with the teacher and threatened him with bodily harm. (And this is the public school that everyone in my area is trying to get into?!? This is the school where people use false addresses to claim they live in the district?!?)

Yesterday was my first day in this art class. It actually went well. It's my daughter’s 6th grade class and I feel they were typical ‘tweens. Some were louder than others but, work was being done and the teacher was able to get his point across. But I could feel his disconnect. I can’t explain it.

When the day was over he said “If you really want to get into it, come back Friday”. (I came in to that class two weeks ago to drop something off and that’s what’s started my eye opening experience of this school getting out-of-hand.) The teacher said “When I get home on Friday I tell my wife not to talk to me, and I go sit somewhere quiet. It’s brutal.”

Gulp. Well, I do want to know what’s going on. I care a lot about these kids. I want them to care about themselves. I think I’ll hang out on Friday afternoon. Wish me luck.

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