#28 Kids these Days

I have been teaching at a small art centre for months now, although I must say it is a very interesting and inspiring experience, I do sometimes find it very annoying that a lot of kids these days NEED you to tell them what to do every single step of the way!

At first I thought it was a laziness issue. Well, some of them really are lazy, leaning on the table, day dreaming and all, some younger ones even have very seriously short attention spans, they’d jump around and disturb other kids or mix up their paint in the water till it turns brown /_. It’s like their parents forced them to art class, they have no interest whatsoever in what they are there to do. Whereas some others, whom you can tell on their innocent little faces and big round curious eyes that they really want to learn,  but they just “don’t know how” or, don’t dare to try.

Art class is very simple, you just give kids a sample or model or something to follow, and get them to imitate it in their own way. They don’t have to be 100% similar, we actually encourage them to interpret what they see in their own ‘language’. As in, draw something in their own way or how they like it.

But the sad thing is, some of them just wouldn’t put the pencil down on the paper and try to draw a simple circle even. They would go, “Teacher, don’t know how to draw” or “Teacher, what color is it?”,  “Teacher, this color here?”, “Teacher, this color till where?”… In a way, they expect me to point out to them every single color and draw guides for lines, sometimes, they even expect me to draw it for them. Some of my fellow teachers actually just give up on the kid’s naggings and actually sit down and do the work for the kids! It drives me crazy!
For my kids, I’d try my very best to keep my cool and say, “Look, and TRY”, I want them to think, I want them to try, I refuse to point everything out to them, unless they really don’t get it.

A line that I say a million times to most of my students in every class is “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.”

Come to think of it, perhaps the way they act is a result of being spoon-fed or told what to do their whole lives. They become so used to following instructions that they don’t bother to think or try. Some probably get scolded often for making “mistakes” that they become afraid to just take a step. Some kids however, I don’t know to call them dumb or smart, know how to take advantage of this situation and just confidently say, “I don’t know how” and sit there for hours not wanting to lay the pencil on the paper. It’s really sad, because, I believe every kid has a potential, there is so much they can achieve if they just tried.

There is a minority however whom I am proud of. Those are the ones who have confidence in themselves, they actually try and do things their way, and show me later to let me guide or edit them. Some actually turn out very good, and that’s when you know they have talent. There are some others that require serious correcting but at least, they are one step in front of those that didn’t try, and I enjoy guiding them to improve their skills.

I really hope that from this art class, the lazy and timid kids would learn something, to sit up properly at a table, and TRY to pay attention to details, TRY to put the pencil down on the paper and TRY to illustrate things to the way they see and imagine without being afraid of making mistakes. I hope that they not only try this in art, but also in other things in their lives, like studies and thinking and all. AMEN. Thank you for reading my rant.

Here’s a mechanic fish one of the older kids drew all by himself. He dared to challenge himself to something more difficult, he tried, and he did it! He was so proud of it he asked me to keep it to remember him by. But I took a picture instead and told him to keep it to remind himself of his potential and continuously challenge himself to grow. Proud of him.

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