Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Being "THAT" Mom

of course I took notes
The kids quarter reports card came in last week. Both girls did amazing. We are super proud of them. And us too because Louie is still homeschooled and we still deserve some credit there.

I sent my parents pictures of the report cards and my Mom texted out loud what I was thinking..

"How was Phi's lowest grade in Art?" 

I mean it's art, how do you lose points in art, it's all subjective right?

Plus Phi's loves art. The kid has a sketchbook and pencil in her hands almost 24/7.  I looked over her assignments and grades and the first thing I noticed was that the extra credit that she had turned in was not there. I also noticed a C on a assignment. I went my usual route and emailed the teacher to see why she got a C on a project and why her extra credit wasn't recorded. The teacher emailed back with a reason for the C (she didn't follow all the instructions) and apologized for not recording the extra credit.

I talked to Phi and a few of her friends about the class. They all agreed that it was not what they were expecting. They were expecting to make art. Like every class. I got reports from the kids of being put into groups for the 2 hours class with the teacher sitting at her desk on her computer the entire time. And all the kids agreed that it was just a boring class.  So earlier this week I sat in on Phi's class so that I could get the real deal.

The teacher is teaching the 7 elements of art. The day I went in the class was starting a lesson on color.  I sat there for the 1 hour and 50 minutes and took notes. Not notes for the teacher, but notes on what I wanted to say to Phi.

See the kids were right. The class was very boring. Teaching color with dull videos and worksheets for 90 minutes is probably the least colorful way to teach this lesson. As I sat there I came up with a lesson plan for a fun finger painting project that could have taught the exact same things but with some hand-on fun. Now I can sit here and think of all these fun ways to teach something, but I am not dealing with budgets, or the reality of teaching 18 kids and the clean up required for a messy project. The last 30 minutes of class were used for the kids to get into their mural project groups. The class is working on a design, budget and presentation to see if they can get the principal's approval to create a new mural on campus. Was I upset with the teacher? Nope. This teacher can teach any way she pleases. And as long as she is teaching something related to art than really what can I say.

This classroom observation lead me to have a discussion with Phi about reality versus expectations. She was expecting art class to be like an art studio. With easels and paints and art being created everyday. Her reality is a classroom with notes and videos and quizzes on what makes a primary color a primary color. She also needed to understand that sometimes you are going to get a class that was not what you were expecting or hoping for. Sometimes a teacher is going to have a teaching style that's just dull to you. This is going to happen all through life. Maybe a job or boss is not going to be what you were expecting. Phi needs to understand that she needs to still make the most of the situation. To still do her best and understand that the lessons that she is being taught can be applied to art. To her own personal art at home. She needs to know that just because the art lesson is not on something she is interested in doesn't mean that she should throw up her hands in frustration and turn in something sub-par.

I talked to Phi about how everything in life is not going to be catered to her interests or will be fun and exciting. Somethings in life will be things that are dull and frustrating. Balancing your checkbook or applying for a mortgage for instance.

Yes the class is a disappoint for her, especially after spending the last few years being homeschooled, were all the lessons were creative and fun and geared toward her interests. The school prides itself on being project based and getting away from the lecture and regurgitate information format and this class seems to do just that. I asked her if she wanted to be transferred to a different elective next semester and she is hoping to be able to get into ASB. Maybe she will try an art class again in high school. 

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