This week I had a small group of students come to art a few minutes early. I always love moments when I have just a handful of kids, especially the normally quiet kids, because I get a chance to really hear them. These students had just come from a pull out support group for reading.
One kid, we'll call him Jeremiah, puts his head on the table, looks and me and says, "I don't like school."
There was a pause. I am never really sure how to respond to this statement.
He then proceeds to say, "I don't like most of school. I do like art and P.E."
I asked him why he liked those parts of school.
He took a second and said, "I like art because I get to do things like paint and create. In P.E. we get to run and play games."
I can't remember what I said, or if class came in - this quick conversation not only made my heart break but reminded me of why I do what I do.
I teach art for kids like Jeremiah. I teach art for kids that 'learning' is a true struggle. They have to work 3x as hard to learn the same information as "normal" kids -- everyday, for 7ish hours they struggle -- then 2ish times a week, they get to be "normal" - they don't have to work so hard, they can enjoy learning.
I teach art for the kids that need a place to smart, to overcome their dyslexia, their ADD, their processing delays -- I teach art to gives kids a place to feel like everyone else, while becoming more themselves.
Thanks Jeremiah for refreshing my perspective.