Some Kind of Journey: Teaching Art Camp
If my words don't make much sense this fine evening of watered-down, oh-my-gawd-will-this-rain-ever-stop nonsense, it's probably because I am much too tired to complete sentences.
You see, I've spent the past three mornings (and two more to boot) with elementary school-aged children, leading them through the trappings of an art camp: paint, clay, drawing, zines, clay, more paint, snacks, insanity, ohmigawd clay, paint, and WHY IS YOUR TONGUE RED IS PAINT NON-TOXIC STOP RUNNING AROUND HOW DID YOU GET ALL THAT BLUE PAINT IN YOUR HAIR WE'RE OUT OF PAPER TOWELS HOW IN THE HELL ARE WE ALL STILL ALIVE AFTER THREE HOURS OF THIS CHAOS?
This art camp, at first, seemed like something so simple.
"Oh," I said to myself. "I teach middle school (their hormones are the worst), understand classroom chaos, and love art. I have planned out multiple projects, and I believe I can handle such a task. I know it will not be easy, but I am up for the challenge."
Three days in: parents of little creatures ...I get it.
No wonder you look 67 when you are barely 40.
If I had to spend 52 weeks a year (and not just one), I, too, would not be able to go out with friends on Friday nights. I understand, now, why you cannot get up from that beanbag chair in the corner of the playroom; why you have this mystical event called "pizza and movie night."
It must be written on the scrolls for any future generation that inhabits the earth: children must feed on the life force of any adult in the room.
Nap times, quiet times, and Pixar movies aren't enough. Go ahead and wield CBD oils and bedtimes at them, but it is for naught.
In the end, you will lose.
Winter has come.
I understand, now, how these tiny humans can sap your energy. I have learned the Ronin ways of one this week and how she sucks my energy simply by being cute and giving me little hugs. Oh, sure, it seems innocent enough...
"Large human, I do not understand the boundaries of adult society, so let me wrap my upper appendages around yonder legs to create what is known as a H-U-G."
Friends. It is not simply a mere act of affection.
It is an energy transplant maneuver. I, a human adult man filled with coffee energy, will lose said energy by these H-U-G-S the small human girl is giving. Depletion isn't felt right away, but, once hug six or seven happens, the energy displation is in full effect and the adult male human is now exhausted. By the the time the morning is over, the little elven girl is Hulk-sized, lunges toward the front door, and picks her mother up by the arm. She's taking her mom out to lunch today.
And if she returns, you're next.
The thing about teaching is this...you will never fully understand what needs to happen in a classroom setting until you've gone through the process a few times. No teacher college or online course or whatever will give you the experience of leading prefrontal-cortex individuals through the mess of learning and doing.
Your pedagogy can be rock solid, but, girl, you dumb. Ain't no pedagogy goin' to get you through the tumble of real-life, human children.
That turd that's about to clog the toilet? Did professor what's-his-face tell you how to handle that? He didn't, did he? Go tell that turd how you feel about child development and why kids should call you by your first name.
You can go through a wonderful multicultural class in college, but it won't prepare you for the moment you must wrap your hand in said toilet paper just so you can push a child's massive bowel movement down the toilet hole.
One day of painting was enough (clean up was a beast), but sadly, the kids were losing steam, so we're gonna hafta bring out them paints for another day...
And for gawd sakes stop hugging me!