Today in my “art” class at my “arts” magnet school I had to test in to and submit a portfolio for (with six pieces of my work) I was confronted with a textbook. I looked down at it and I read its title, which I now don’t remember, I looked at the student next to me and asked, “What the hell is this?”
“Is this a textbook?”
A: “Yeah, it’s a textbook.”
I stared at it a long time. I was flabbergasted.
You see, you can’t teach art with a textbook because art is a creative thing and a textbook is the very absence of creativity. It’s there so you don’t have to think up your own way of doing things. Instead of a textbook you should just be able to talk to artists and explain what you did and you can look at their art work. I think the textbook must be required by state law or county law. This really depresses me.
Yesterday I drew closing stitches all over my arm. I looked like a badly repaired teddy bear. My mother says it’s kind of cute. My teachers were not amused. Neither was anyone else in the entire building. They would all say, ‘What’s on your arm?” They had this tone like I had a large amount of jelly or blood was running down my arm. I was really confused for the longest time. And then I finally understood and I said, “Oh, you mean the drawing?” It’s like, don’t you draw on yourself too, or did you ever draw on yourself? And they would all just look at me like I had committed some sort of crime or I had chopped my arm all to pieces and sewn it back together.
I passed someone who is sort of considered to be my guidance counselor and he asked me to wash it off, but I said I couldn’t because it was permanent marker. And he said, “Well, OK, wash that off when you get home.” And then after that I was really frightened I had done something punishably wrong. And if I get punished I would get kicked out of my art class and then I would be very sad because I had to work pretty dang hard to get into an arts magnet and my neighborhood school was worse. It was scary for one thing, which was very scary.
I also discovered yesterday these odd student of the month awards. They were for Kindness, Courage, Respect, Honesty, Trustworthiness, Citizenship. I stared at these for a while, or thought about them for a while, since I can’t “stare” at crap. I can’t even use the water fountain during the change of classes or the bathroom or talk or even think about anything.
The Courage one has some obvious issues. How can you be courageous in a system that runs on fear and get an award for it? You get suspended for courage. And then Citizenship, I wondered what they were talking about there, and then I found one of those weird posters in my school and it said “Citizenship: doing what you feel needs to be done to help your school community.” I’m even more confused now! Citizenship gets you expelled too. And then I started to also wonder about the Trustworthiness and Honesty posters. What’s the difference? Whether you say you won’t lie or whether you don’t lie? And whose to determine whose more honest or trustworthy than others? And then there’s Respect. OBVIOUSLY there was some mistake when they decided to put this one up. Why are these student of the month awards?
The other thing I have noticed about these posters with the awards on them is that they use Microsoft Word’s Word Art for their titles. And also cheap clip art as the pictures.