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Writing Group
Teaching Experience

        Dad used to love to joke with my sister and me about our qualifications for this or that. If we discussed some medical problem, he might comment, “Say, now!  You girls are Doctors.”  Or if was a legal problem,  he would laugh, “Well, well!  You,  two are lawyers.”

        This is about the way I felt as I was attempting to teach art. I had no qualification or license to teach anything. Never in my life did I ever have the desire to teach. For a brief time an apartment was shared with a teacher.  There were no illusions as far as how much work was involved. Not that I wanted to shirk any responsibility, there just wasn't a feeling of dedication on my part.

        However, when  my next door neighbor asked me to teach her child art, there was no hesitation on my part. The child had a slight disability with her vision. The  girl was held back because she wasn't making enough progress to go on to first grade.  My heart went out to this child with an angel face and trusting eyes. In my knowledge of art there was no question in my mind what had to be done.

        With a careful explanation  the mother was enlightened about what  would be involved with the child learning art.

        “You see.  The alphabet was first art. The letters stood for a picture of something. As time has moved along, these pictures have become symbols. By teaching Angie these basic principles eventually this will all merge together in her mind and she will be able to learn easily.”

         The child was bright and meticulous to a fault. I couldn't imagine how she had suffered to learn in a classroom when she probably didn't have time to thoroughly complete her work.

         When we began with colors it was after I had taught her to see light and dark. “See.  This is the color of sunshine.”  I caught her attention with yellow paint  added to her pallette. The yellow on the curves of an object became light striking that shape. She was enthralled at the thought of the sun coming down to a place on a duck's back, or on a petal of one flower while the other's were in shadow.

          I could see the hesitant, slow,  manner slowly slipping away to be replaced with a new interest in what was around her. Some days we only painted the light. It might be on one side of a tree trunk, on a group of leaves in a tree, or just a patch on the lawn.  She painted the light and then with a pencil sketched in the shadows.

         Her personality was changing too. The friend she brought with her before had been the leader who insisted on her way all the time. Now Angie was questioning what her friend did and said. This brought me joy. Thinking after all is what can protect. The problem to surface was  the friend didn't want to give up her position and there was a struggle for a while. Not for long though. Angie stood her ground and she was fortunate to have an understanding mother in her corner.

        When school started the next year Angie was put back in Kindergarten again but she didn't stay there long.

        “I don't know what you have done with this child during the summer.  She is ready to go to first grade. It would be a shame to hold her back.”  The surprised teacher told the mother.

        Not too long after that we moved from Dallas back to Oklahoma. I often wonder what happened to my little Angie who gave me the courage to open a small studio where I was able to take a hand-picked group of ladies who wanted to learn art. This was around 1972.

       For the ladies  I know their achievements. One went to college, got a degree in art and was qualified, certified and licensed to teach. Another lady went on to illustrate a children's book. Yet another became a skilled successful artist who dedicated her means and skills to the art world. Her works hang in many fine surroundings since she has become quite well known.

       I feel this isn't too shabby a record for someone who knows totally, thoroughly, nothing about teaching. If there is another life, another time, another place, when I am youthful again without the stress and heaviness of age upon me, please Lord, let me be a teacher? I feel I could be dedicated the next time around.

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