Monday, February 24, 2014

"I have tried to know absolutely nothing about a great many things, and I have succeeded fairly well. ~ Robert Benchley


It was my first year of teaching in a beautiful 2-year-old junior/senior high school in the southern-most part of South Omaha, NE. My art room had everything an art teacher could desire, including 7 classes of 35 students each! All my 4th period students were in the midst of a contour drawing of a huge still life I had created in the middle of the room. You could actually feel the students' concentration. It was thrilling to me! 

Contour drawing is a technique that requires the artist to make a drawing of the subject using just ONE continuous, free-flowing line. It takes nearly perfect concentration to make an elegant drawing with this technique, and these students were achieving it. The still life was composed of farm implements I'd gathered just for this drawing lesson. There was an ancient scythe, a well-used shovel, a leather ox yoke, a heavy fishing net, and other amazing items. It even included 3 large metal milk cans filled with the weeds I'd found in the vast open land along side of our school. All of that still life perched itself on a large wooden table nearly reaching the ceiling. It was glorious, with enough variety to cause each student's drawing to be different from the next.

I strolled among my students, helping if they were stuck, and purring every time I saw beautifully flowing lines that are the mark of a REAL artist, as opposed to the nervous, cranky, scratchy lines of "wanna-be artists." I was soooooo proud! Heck! I was gooood!

The door of my classroom opened, and in strode the principal... perfect timing, I thought. This man must feel lucky to have hired me... maybe in time, he would name me the art department chair... then the district art specialist... just think, I was only 21 years old, and already I was goooood!

"Miss Kingston, may I see you out outside for a moment, please?" (Here it was... he was going to tell me what a wonderful teacher I was... how lucky he was to have hired me... he was...)

"Miss Kingston, where did you get those weeds in the milk cans?"

"Why, out in the field along side of the school, Mr. Tolen. The whole field is full of them! Aren't they beautiful? As soon as they die, I can go right out there again and fill the cans with more!"

"Miss, Kingston... that is MARIJUANA! You have 3 huge bunches of marijuana stalks in the milk cans! Please get rid of them during your conference period!" said Mr. Tolen and he walked away...

... and I wasn't even fired! Sometimes, it can be good to be stupid. I always loved that principal!  

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