On my first day of art class in elementary school, I died a little inside. It doesn’t seem like a big deal in retrospect, but at the time it was soul-crushing.
I was sitting at the long wooden table with my classmates, filled with excitement. I already enjoyed drawing, coloring, and creating, so I figured this would be my favorite class. Our first assignment was to fold a sheet of paper in half and draw a person on it. No other directives or instructions, just draw a person. Great. I got this. I took my time, paying attention to every detail. Face. Clothing. Appendages. Hair. Yes! What a work of art. I sat in awe of my creation.
For the next half of the assignment, we were told to flip our papers over, and the teacher would now show us the correct way to draw a person. Circles. Rectangles. Ovals. Measuring. Erasing. Re-drawing. Erasing. Erasing. (for some reason I could never get those blasted erasers to work, they just left gray smudges all over my paper). We then opened up the paper, so we could see both drawings at the same time, and the teacher explained to us why and how our first drawing was rubbish, and the second drawing was phenomenal.
What would possess a person to make a career out of crushing children’s creativity? And how boring would this planet be if we took these people seriously? All four of my children love drawing, and each have their own unique style (and yes their own way of drawing a person!). They also enjoy exploring new techniques, and learning different methods. But I couldn’t imagine telling them that there is a right and wrong way of creatively expressing themselves.
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