Life’s Classroom

by beccaborrelli

I watched this movie the other night with a new guy. Which was exciting. The movie… and the guy.

He said:

“The nice thing about this movie- is the good guys do bad things, and bad guys do good things.”

“So there aren’t really good guys or bad guys?”.

“Well… exactly.”

Which is ideally how I would like my students to think about the world. About Art. About life.

Was hanging some Second Grade Aboriginal Dream paintings on Tuesday. Fourth Graders passing to use the restroom stopped. Can I tell you I was blubbering/flipping/ecstatic as they just began chattering with unprovoked art conversation. I could hardly contain brazen pride as they dropped art vocabulary learned over 5 years… with me.

Within moments two of them began to argue. Politely. Like adults do- pretending they see the other’s point of view- and clearly feeling too invested in their own opinion to actually bridge the gap.

“I love how this one has all the bright colors overlapping the dark. The contrast makes it pop out at me. I think it’s the best one on the wall.”

“I don’t really like the dark. This one is light and all the colors go together. I like it better because it’s not as confusing.”

“Yeah but look at the dark…”

And I watched in amused silence as he began to reiterate the point with slight annoyance… why couldn’t she SEE what he saw… clearly he had a point… but clearly so did she…

Up walks the new girl who arrived in January.

“I think you both have good points. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.”

She shrugged as if this were the most obvious freaking thing. Then walked back to her classroom.

Both of the students looked at each other. Clearly they weren’t buying it. Which made me laugh. Here was the micro version of every drama ever played out in the history of civilization.

A need for “the way.”

A need for “the self, to know the way.”

A need for “the self, to know the way, and convince others of the way.”

I felt privileged. It was like watching Princess Mononoke again- but with my own personal characters. I was the omnipresent being who was removed and could see clearly how both sides were irrevocably and beautifully correct… and incorrect. How there were no easy answers. And strangely… how unnecessary it seemed to peg down an answer anyway.

Now how in Jiminy Cricket do I bless children with that opportunity? Ah to be a teacher.