Yesterday, I mentioned that managing painting procedures in the art room is more challenging than managing other materials.
As an art teacher, the use of paint brings its own levels of stress, as so many things can go wrong if students aren't respecting the procedures or the materials. Also, accidents can happen that are no one's fault due to the nature of the material.
During 6th hour on Friday, as I stood talking to a table of 5th graders who were a little louder than the rest. I wanted to see what was making them talk and laugh so loudly.
The table has 3 girls and one boy. The girls are very talented and the boy is a little rowdy, he often needs my help on projects. I'm not sure what had happened before I walked over, but several kids had paint on their fingers. The boy held up his hand to show me the hot pink paint dripping from his fingertips. "She painted on me!" he exclaimed.
Just as I uttered, "go wash it off" he turned away to skip to the sink and flicked his wrist at just the right angle that a speck of paint flew into my eye.
"You just flicked paint in my eye," I said calmly, taking off my glasses and holding one eye closed, waiting for the burn to stop.
The boy had heard me, but remained at the sink, ignoring the fact that I might be blind.
I said his name, and asked him to stand in front of me.
We role played what he should have done:
"Mrs. Mitchell, are you okay?"
"I'm sorry, it was an accident, do you need anything?"
You would think that a general sense of regard for another person's well being would be inherent in kids, an empathy for pain and suffering would be a natural emotion.
I know it wasn't the boy's fault, and thankfully I was fine, it just made me remember that teaching art is more than managing the supplies. Sometimes I get so caught up watching the clock and maintaining the schedule that it is difficult to make time for true learning moments.
I don't know if the boy will make sure someone is okay in a similar situation in the future....he might've just been parroting me so that he wouldn't 'get in trouble' during our little role playing event.
Sometimes as teachers we have to embrace those truly authentic moments to impart real knowledge, because that might be the only time they will be exposed to an opportunity to learn a life lesson.
In the safety of the classroom, they have the opportunity to ask questions, make mistakes that don't haunt them for life, and learn how to react to difficult situations.
Even though I don't teach a core subject, I know that what I do is important.
And who knows, maybe even the fact that I took a moment to stop this kid and have a conversation with him about doing the right thing, he will save someone from blindness in the future.
This is my 'slice of life' blog.
My Art Teacher Blog:
This Little Class of Mine