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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Some days it's all I can do

I usually enjoy my volunteer time at the school. Some days I even love it.

And then there are the other days.

I was working one-on-one with writing students last week. I had one particular child who came to me with absolute gibberish all over the paper. Sentences didn't even make sense let alone have proper punctuation. This is a child of at least average intelligence. There was no excuse for this state of affairs. He just wasn't in the mood. I tried coming at it from a variety of angles to no avail. He then proceeded to tell me that I was the problem. That I could not appreciate his "art."

Riiiiight.


I kindly explained that I was definitely not a connoisseur of the arts and that I might very well be missing the meaning of his "art," but that we needed to get busy with some writing. Art would have to come later. He responded by telling me: "You're not very nice."

I had two things to share with young Picasso that I, thankfully, had the sense to keep to myself:

The fact that no one understands you does not make you an artist

I'll try to act nicer if you'll try to act smarter.


I think I'm ready to make rock candy with the fourth-graders tomorrow.


Wish me luck.

picture from google images

58 comments:

Stephanie Faris said...

Well put! I have a blog about this that I haven't posted yet, but when I was in my 20s I worked for the state Arts Commission. The Visual Arts director laughed at me for having a Thomas Kinkade calendar on my cubicle wall. He said it was "hotel art." I said, "So I should have that photo we have in our gallery right now with a guy holding a gun to his head hanging in my cubicle?" He said, "Why not?" HELLO?

Lindy said...

Rock candy? I want to be in 4th grade again.

M-Cat said...

I'll try to act nicer if you try to act smarter. I think I am going to use that often!!

Life with Kaishon said...

I think rock candy is a good idea : )

Very funny story! Art appreciation at its finest!

Kristina P. said...

You're such a meanie! :)

~Thought's By Dena~ said...

you arent very nice...heheh too funny......oh boy just wait for the rock candy!!!!

peewee said...

oooh. Hope he doesn't end up on Oprah as a child art prodigy and is all "you know Oprah, I'll never forget the one day this snake lady came and told me to WRITE. WRITE!?!?!? Can you believe it....she lives at...."

Probably that won't happen...buuutttttt....

Grant said...

I was really hoping the fact that nobody understands me made me an artist. Think of it as a consolation prize. You're not very nice for dashing my hopes.

Susie said...

If only you could volunteer to interact with just your children:-)

angie said...

How often do you volunteer in your kids classroom? I'm trying to hit all three once a week this year. I remember the first time I volunteered and I read with the 1st graders. So fun. I just had to learn to not look at the dirt under the finger nails after recess. :)

Cassie said...

Good luck making rock candy that sounds FUN :o) I have my first volunteer day at Megs new school Friday. I will be working in the front office Ha. They don't know what they're in for with me :o)

Lana@The Kids Did WHAT?! said...

Gee. And I thought *I* wasn't very nice. Way to go KathyB!

As much as I try not to, I argue with kids. Especially with other peoples kids, cuz mine know where my "mean" face leads (Mommy "winning"). I can put on a good act for a while but if I volunteered regularly, ... it wouldn't be fun anymore.
You're my hero.

Pam said...

Ugh! I am so thankful my school volunteer opportunities are now behind me since both of my girls in HS. I will not miss it!

ymK said...

I am not looking forward to volunteering once Dimples starts school. I would have said those two things on his face, I think. Then again, I am too nice.

Nancy@ifevolutionworks.com said...

I volunteer a lot for school and town sports too. It really can be so frustrating working with some of the kids and parents.

Sometimes you work with the child and they can be difficult. Then you meet the parent and understand where it comes from.

I love rock candy!!! Have fun with that!

JC said...

Oh, do I ever remember those 'volunteering' days ...

Mox said...

I come bearing gifts! Or, actually, you have to come and see me to get it, but whatever. I have something for you.

TKW said...

Ummm, hello?? That kid is obviously a GENIUS. He writes just like James Joyce!!

Unknown Mami said...

Damn and here I thought I was an artist. Now you are telling me that I am misunderstood for no reason.

Susan warmchocmilk said...

Wait. I think that was my child in your classroom. Oh no wait, he's only in Kindergarten, but seriously that is totally something he would do and say. Lord help me!!!!!

Grand Pooba said...

You mean rock candy "art" right?

Nap Warden said...

Well you got both those facts right...and rock candy...mmmmmmmm:P

Tsquared417 said...

If he only knew how mean you could be! ;)

K said...

Good luck with the rock candy - that at least should keep their interest.

I think it sounds like you were being pretty nice to me.

blueviolet said...

I've got my fingers crossed for tomorrow!

A Mom on Spin said...

Sometimes you just have to meet these kids on their own ground. . .

Jen said...

I wish that you said that to him, too bad he wasn't just a little bit older.

MadMad said...

OMG - I love that last line... I'll try to act nicer if you try to act smarter. I am sooo going to use that. A lot.

for a different kind of girl said...

Oh, my...I just got done helping my oldest son with some homework and test prep. I kind of feel like I've just spent the last hour looking at this very example you've put here! In fact, he may have explained himself the same, but minus the whole 'art' part! God bless you for volunteering. Bless their teachers, too! At this point, I'm flippin' exhausted!

(I'm so behind on reading, but you and Mother Nature? Seriously need a sit down and hash it out talk!)

Laoch of Chicago said...

It is great fun to make rock candy!

CynthiaK said...

While it's good that you used your "inside voice" for those two statements, I have to wonder just how funny that entire exchange would have been had you said them aloud!

passions and soapboxes said...

I'm sorry were you writing a post. All I heard was rock candy.

ScoMan said...

Damn.. so those business cards I ordered with "Artist" on them are going to be of no use to me? Well if I'm not an artist what good is it being misunderstood?

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

Ohhhh! I want to come make rock candy! ;)

Once my volunteer paperwork comes through, I wonder how many 'artistic' kids I'll be dealing with? ;) I guess I better start boning up on my 'art appreciation'... ;)

I can't wait to hear all about the rock candy making fun! :)

Queenie Jeannie said...

Personally I think you should have totally gone "Happy Bunny" on his smart-alek butt!!!!

Save me some rock candy, ok???

Gibby said...

"I'll try to act nicer if you'll try to act smarter."

Genius, KB! I think that will be my new motto.

Theta Mom said...

Can I come make rock candy, too? LOL I remember trying to do that as a kid and it was harder than I thought! Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

Thanks for commenting on my blog! I am your most recent follower. :)

beth said...

love the "act nicer/act smarter" line. i feel the smae way! although, i do have to admit...he seems pretty clever if he is already trying to pass laziness off as "art."

LadyFi said...

I admire your restraint!

... and patience.

JennyMac said...

Wow...you are good.

Rock candy...I havent heard of this in an age.

Hope all goes well!

Michele said...

I meant to tell you that I really like the new blog background (clouds & sky)! Not too crazy about the ginormous list of followers at the top, taunting me because I'll never be as blog-popular as you! But hey, you deserve it! I love coming here!

faemom said...

You're very civilized. I would have had a hard time. Listen, Punk. You can break the grammar rules when you know what they are and why. Now, do it right before I break you.

countryfriedmama said...

Boy, this is awfully young to already know everything. I thought it took kids at least until 13 to be smarter than adults.

forever folding laundry said...

I do hope you have survived your rock candy experience today. I must say, as a former 4th grade teacher, I don't envy you. :) (Just kidding - mostly. I like 4th graders.)

I volunteer in both the boys' classes on Mondays and am WIPED out by the time I'm finished!

~Keri

forever folding laundry said...

I do hope you have survived your rock candy experience today. I must say, as a former 4th grade teacher, I don't envy you. :) (Just kidding - mostly. I like 4th graders.)

I volunteer in both the boys' classes on Mondays and am WIPED out by the time I'm finished!

~Keri

Helene said...

The things you have to tolerate when you volunteer, huh? Hope the rock candy goes over well...that sounds like fun.

I'm in the process of writing a post about volunteering in Bella's Girl Scout troop, which she just started (well, Daisies actually). When I saw the list of things they needed volunteers for, I laughed out loud. Then I thought of you. Guess I'll have to get out of my comfort zone, right?

bernthis said...

the fact that he thinks no one understands him is exactly what makes him an artist

buffalodick said...

Quote of the day: "I don't know if it's Art- but I like it!".. That kid is a fraud in training...

Yaya said...

'does not make you an artist' lol!

Nana said...

Kids are great. (insert sarcasm)

Kathy B! said...

This kid is definitely an artist --a CON artist. I've worked with him weekly for the last two years and I have never once heard him mention a thing about art in any form or capacity. And he has an excuse (usually new and creative) for why he doesn't have his work done. He's smart for sure - just applying it in all the wrong ways.

ck said...

I think I'd need a supply of rock candy (for myself) just to agree to volunteer...

the ungourmet said...

Well, the rock candy sounds like a lot more fun!

I got to listen to 2nd graders read today. I was a nice time! :)

Young Mom/Wife said...

Yeah, totally not art. What grade was this kid in? At least he didn't swear at you, and just said you were mean....I am so not looking forward to the Wee One getting big enough to be in grade school.

Tammy Howard said...

Oh, perhaps he has an avant garde future. Once in college I had to go to an avant garde recital as part of a requirement for a course I was taking. It was - well - it was not my cup of tea. It was not melodic, it was not pretty, it did not move me. But I listened quietly and politely, because that's how I do. Someone else who was there not by choice started to chuckle. A hipster dressed head to toe in black behind me leaned into his companion and said, "they laugh because they do not understand" I became less polite at that point, because that level of pretense really was kind of funny.

Also funny? Mean parent volunteers...

Tiffany @ Lattes And Life said...

I was a Community College Professor for a year or so. We did outreach to the local high school, offering college courses on the high school campus. It was SUPPOSED to be for the cream of the crop students, right? But since I taught Criminal Justice the Principal thought it'd be helpful to send the trouble students to me. Ohhh heck naw, that didn't go over too well. After one too many attitudes I promptly kicked them out of my classroom and straight back to the Principal! Little boogers...

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