Saturday, January 26, 2013

Living in Khaki World

As I was dealing with the incredible mess that is sure to come with 23 children doing squirt painting on wooden blocks, the thought popped into my head, "Don't get it all over your khakis!" Then as I walked down the hall of my school, I noticed teachers dressed far nicer than I, in their high heels and pressed slacks. I peeked in classrooms and noticed teachers standing by their shiny Smart Boards. 

I love my school, and these are strong committed wonderful teachers, but I wondered what I'm doing here in this khaki place. Why am I not wearing a flannel shirt covered in old art projects? Why are my oldest jeans not my school uniform? Why (and I'm SO ashamed to say this) is this the third time we've used paint this year? Why did I have to fit this project in between guided reading lessons instead of outside amidst hours of play?

 And why in the WORLD am I concerned about my stupid khaki pants? 

The next day, as our creations sat in the hallway drying into an ugly black color, several teachers stopped by to ask me what they were. I guess I didn't understand the nature of their question, because I answered instead what their PURPOSE had been. "We were squirting paint out of ketchup bottles and watching it run down the blocks," I told them cheerfully. 

It was several failed attempts of explaining this that I finally understood the question was literally, "What ARE they?" 

They're art, is all I really know. Ask one of my children, and they'll probably tell you it's a rainbow smoothie butterfly volcano. And it is, if they say it is, but I, as the teacher, didn't intend for them to be anything at all. I am not the artist. 

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