Ok, so bright eyes weren’t turning around, but my students, my attitude, and the class atmosphere is.
I have this one class. We all have had it. Last period of the day. 80% boys. 80% freshman. Art 1. This isn’t the first time I’ve had this class. However, since my switch to TAB it is. And quite frankly, it threw me through the biggest loop.
I had this long-winded, drawn-out post about this, but I highlighted it and hit delete. You don’t need to know all the gory details. I am sure you can imagine all the things.
What is important is that I tried to keep to my TAB philosophy and what I believe in. AND, I asked for help from our Restorative Discipline team. After 2 days of circles between the class and our RD coach, and the class, the coach and myself, we came to a new place. A better place. A good place. A place I hope we stay at for a long time. I know there will be bumps along the way, but I am optimistic that if we pause when that happens, we can redirect ourselves back here.
We were in the middle of “packets”… a new strategy that Ian Sands came up with and suggested I tried with this class…when we were interrupted. On Wednesday we went back to the packets, but we started over as a class. And, I let kids whom I told myself (and probably some of them) that they would never touch clay, get clay and begin to build. And, those kids that were the biggest problem, stopped being the biggest problem. And some forgot which packet they chose. And quite frankly, I didn’t care. They were engaged. They were learning. They were not on laptops. They weren’t on phones. They were asking questions, and being artists, and talking to each other, and helping each other. It is like what a TAB studio full of Art 1 kids should be.
And, I was exhausted. But, I wasn’t angry.
On day two, I was relaxed, and they were still engaged. And one student in particular who is often quite angry with me, decided not to work with clay anymore because he didn’t like it. I was worried he would go back to doing nothing. But as I peeked at his laptop on the sly throughout the class, he was looking up images, and doing small sketches, and had a real conversation with me about what to create.
And, the class hummed with energy…and I wasn’t angry. I was happy.