A day in the life…Art Teacher

A day in high school again, well half a day. Still. Given the opportunity I would never repeat high school. I spent all my time in the dark room if I could help it. Otherwise I took off to a crappy job scooping ice cream to fill the time away from snobby clicks and all the related drama. If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m an introvert.

My thoughts spin into a downward spiral of all the things hated from ages 13-17.*sigh*

On a more positive note, and the reason for this post… I tagged along with Mr. Gonzalez while he taught his high school ceramics class here in Highlands Ranch CO. Daniel Gonzalez is an extremely talented artist and spends his days as a High School art teacher passing on his expertise to budding students. I’ve known Daniel for a while now, so to see him in action as an authority figure and more importantly a teacher, was a surreal experience for me.

Daniel’s easy going attitude mixed well with the interaction he had with his students. Teaching hormonally spastic teenagers how to do something that requires concentration and physical interaction with a medium has to be a serious challenge. I mean come on how focused were you at age 15? Especially in art class full of 40 other kids. Yet these kids set to work as soon as Daniel, sorry Mr. Gonzalez, said go.

The surprising part was that the kids on the wheels were focused. Even when for some just centering their blob of clay on the wheel was a challenge. But regardless of their skill level they kept at it and started over again when their clay didn’t form into whatever they saw displayed in their head. Daniel constantly challenged them. Can’t center your clay? I’ll show you how. Leading by example he would fix their mistake and a gleam of happiness would show in the kids eyes because now they wouldn’t have to do it themselves. Then, wham! a knock to the side of the clay to off center it again then he’d hand it back and say try again. The light in the kids eyes would dim in disappointment but then they set their elbows down and tried again. I honestly don’t know how he did it. I didn’t see one ounce of attitude until it was clean up time. For some reason sweeping the floor caused more uproar than getting clay all over their $150 jeans. Go figure.

I only observed for half a day but I had a great time. Watching these kids dig in and get their hands dirty made me want to jump right in with them. By the time I left I had absorbed an impromptu lesson on how to make a bowl on the wheel which I haven’t done since my junior year. No, I will not say how long ago that was.  Maybe next time I crash his class I’ll actually get to try it.

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