Monday, November 9, 2009

Self-Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl

I am not enjoying teaching right now, or grading papers, or dealing with the idiot student who thought it would be a good idea to steal some other idiot student's paper and pass it off as his own and now I have to fill out paperwork and meet with the Director of Composition and THEN meet with this student to give him his big fat F in my class before I can give papers back to any of my other students, and if you think those students are happy to have their grades delayed then, boy, you don't know students these days.

When do you think I'll get a nationally-mandated minimum wage for being a committed stay-at-home parent who engages my children and exposes them to enrichment opportunities and cooks them nourishing meals and constantly strives to do better by them? Cause I'd really like to stop moonlighting with these college students--they'd rather be moonlighting somewhere else as well, anyway.

In other news, my own happy kids are rockin' their own school, as usual. One of the sweeter traditions, in a classroom full of sweet rituals and traditions (don't take my word for it--the Montessori birthday ritual is gorgeous everywhere), is to have each child draw a self-portrait twice a year, just before the fall and spring parent/teacher conferences. The work table has a mirror set up in front of it, and blank paper and colored pencils, and the older children (and even the youngest ones, by the spring self-portrait), add a sort of handwriting sampler at the bottom. It's a fascinating look at how a child sees herself, and fascinating how that perception evolves over the months and the years.

I posted Willow's self-portrait at four years and ten months, and so here is her self-portrait at five years and nearly four months: Such an evolution in that kid!

Now, it's possible that Sydney didn't quite understand the purpose of the self-portrait work, since this is her first time, but frankly, I think she understood it quite well, and thus I think that her self-portrait is a pretty clear reflection of who my kid is inside:Yep, that's my kid. Her sister is introspective, socially cautious, and very concerned with understanding the social script of any situation. Sydney, however, is an extrovert who craves attention, and is extremely socially clever, particularly in regards to manipulating situations to achieve an optimum outcome. At the parent/teacher conferences Matt discovered, through shrewd questioning, that the two sub-teachers in the girls' classroom have apparently been unwittingly letting Sydney basically do nothing in the classroom except wander around and hang out. One teacher tells Sydney to hang up her coat. Sydney looks at her blankly, so the teacher demonstrates the activity, in the process hanging up her coat for her. This happens every single day. The other teacher demonstrates a new work to Sydney, and then asks if she'd like to try it. She says no. This happens every single time.

"She's very observant," noted one teacher.

"Observant, my butt. A Montessori classroom is not a cocktail party. It's an experiential education lab, and it's very expensive. Get the kid playing with something."

They promised they would.


Kimberly said...

I like the way Matt thinks because I'm pretty sure that is EXACTLY how I would react as well :-D

julie said...

I know, we should totally be those parents who are at peace with however their child chooses to engage with the world, but Matt and I are NOT those parents, at least not with the tuition that school charges.

Abby said...

those kinds of parents baffle me.

Abby said...

OH, but when sidney gives you those doe eyes and shy smile -- you are obviously going to do whatever she wants. i just sent her home with 20 chocolate chip cookies, because she was sad.