Thursday, March 5, 2009

Old Stories from the Classroom

Kids say the wackiest things sometimes. Teachers can relate to these stories and probably have some of their own they remember. Maybe they're just funny to me since I was "there".
Way back in 1981, when I was a first year art teacher, the school librarian told me about a student I had as a senior in my class. When he was a junior, he was assigned to do a report on the artist Michelangelo. Remember this is before everyone had the Internet, so he was looking in the library at the encyclopedias. Puzzled, when he couldn't find any information on the famous artist in them, he went to the librarian for help, "I can't find anything on an artist I'm supposed to write about, can you help?" The librarian ready to help, asked the artist name. The student replied, "I've looked in all the A encyclopedias, his name is Angelo, Michael Angelo."
Back when I taught elementary art, I was trying to implant the desire to fully decorate a Christmas tree to a kindergarten art class. I was relating how my mother loved to decorate our tree at home with all kinds of ornaments, filling our tree. One little boy with disbelief and shock evident on his face blurted without raising his hand, "You have a mom!!!???". Yes, it's true even 27 year old teachers have parents in our closets!
In my 7th grade art class we'd been painting with watercolors making color wheels and all and the students were supposed to make a monochromatic painting (using 1 color and only mixing additions of white or black to that color). A girl had been gone for numerous days in the hospital and home recovering and came up to me and said "I still don't have that mammogram done." My teeth about fell out, I thought oh this poor girl really has problems and she's only a 7th grader! What could I answer but "Oh, you don't?" She replied "What color should I use and should I do it now or take it home." Ah ha, "Oh, your MONOCHROMATIC painting,..."
How many times have students walked into my classroom with a question on their mind and absentmindedly called for my attention with a "Mom!"
While students are working we often have many different topics we discuss. I can't remember how we got to the point of talking about clergymen. One girl, with a puzzled look on her face said, "Wait, what's a clergyman?" I asked what she thought one was, after all, we had been talking for a while. Her answer has stayed with me for many years, "Isn't he a person who collects people's coats?"

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