Every Tuesday between October 5, 2013 and December 2, 2013, I went with fellow university student Frances Kurtenbach to a pre-internship at the McLurg Elementary School in Regina, Saskatchewan.
Our co-operating teacher, Cynthia Moore, was not available the first day.
Her classroom was in the center of the school. She would have groups of students come and go with classes.
FIELD LOG, WEEK 1: OCTOBER 15TH, 2013
This time, upon arrival at school, we met Cynthia Moore (our cooperating teacher) for the first time. Our Field session technically starts at 12:30, but Mrs. Moore doesn’t have a class of any sort until approximately 1:15, so we had time to just talk and discuss the plans for the next few hours. As we prepped for classes, she gave us jobs to do as the class progressed, so that we weren’t totally lost.The first class we had was boys from grades 4 and 5. Mrs. Moore made us introduce ourselves, and then moved on to presenting them with a powerpoint focusing on their next topic: Pop art. After the presentation, the students were told to make their own ideas for pop art. I walked around the class and talked with each of the students individually, helping them to developing their ideas.
One of the students (Who I later found to be named “Seth”) had several other sketches around him, and they were rather advanced compared to his classmates. I asked him what he would like to draw, and he said he was drawing a blank. When I asked about possibly using a celebrity as a focus for pop art, he obviously had an idea and started to draw. I left him alone to stew for a few minutes, and talked to some of the other children. After a while, Seth came up and tugged on my shirt. He said “Mrs. Moore told me to ask you or Miss Kurtenbach if you’d like to come with me so I could go pick up a picture of Peter Griffon in the office.” He was very shy and nervous, so I said “Of course, buddy, but you’ll have to show me where to go. I don’t really know this place!” and he led me off to the office. On the way, he completely opened up-When I asked him why he drew so much, he told me that he enjoyed drawing for others, and making them happy. This really resonated deeply within me, because that was almost the same reason I had started to draw many years ago. I encouraged him to continue to draw, as there will not be as much time for drawing as he gets older, and he replied with his plans to get a job. He went so far as to outline which restaurant he’d apply to, and why. He really blew me away. That kid was in grade four, and already was talking as though he was an adult.
We picked up his picture and went back to class, nonetheless.
The class was wrapped up, and Seth waved to me as his class left. There wasn’t any time to discuss Seth, as recess happened, and we were already preparing for the next class. Recess passed by and yet the grade ones were not knocking at her door. Mrs. Moore went to the door, and saw that the students were all locked out! She let them in, but the kids were all astir with the excitement of something unusual happened. Mrs. Moore said that an incident like that had never happened. As we let the students into the classroom, they filed into their desks and were unusually active due to the recent disturbance. They had to organize their art journals, and glue things to their books. The children didn’t like to sit still for very long, but they got their jobs done. The students drew pictures while they waited for class to end. The next group of grade ones filed in after the others had left; they all sat down relatively quietly.
The only difference with this class was one student, Jarret, who sat at a table he wasn’t supposed to. When Mrs. Moore asked him to return to his seat, he threw a huge fit, declaring that he didn’t like her anymore, and he pouted the majority of the class. After he settled down, and the students started to glue things into their books, I went over to Jarret and saw that he was done everything much faster than the other students. Since he was seated at a table by himself, he didn’t have a basket of markers, so he was just resting his head on the table while he waited. When I asked if he’d like markers to work with, he turned his head away and replied with a solid “No.” His picture was done purely with an orange marker, so I brought over two other markers (Blue and green) and I placed them on his paper. I said to him that “He did not have to color, but if he wanted to, there were markers for him to use.” He drew more pictures, so every now and then I would give him more colors to work with.
The day ended relatively uneventfully. Mrs. Moore talked to us for quite a while after school was over, to discuss things that had happened. After she was sure we had no questions left, we went home.
FIELD LOG, WEEK 7: NOVEMBER 27, 2013
The first group of kids that we received was made of grade 5/6 boys. They were undertaking the assignment that the girls had struggled with in the previous week. Mrs. Moore had noticed that they had struggled, however, and presented the assignment to the boys in a much more fluid way. The boys worked much easier on it, and though they were rather rowdy at first, they eventually settled down and really worked at the project at hand. While I helped kids come up with ideas and make a rough draft, Frances helped kids print of pictures of things they wanted to include in their self-reflecting visual note. I walked kids to and from the printer, and helped them draw ideas. At the end of the class, Mrs. Moore asked each kid what they had planned, and the other students listened and commented on the creative ideas. When the kids had left, Mrs. Moore told me that, last year, the exact same group of boys had made her job as a teacher rather hellish. There were three kids that fed off of each other and had no regards for what was right or wrong. This class, however, made them out to be rather kind and intelligent – I never would have guessed that they were hard to handle. Once I walked around and talked to each kid individually, the students were happier and helped each other out.The next group of students were grade 3/4 girls. They were a class ahead of their male counterparts, so Mrs. Moore gave them a class to draw whatever they wanted. I found it odd, but most of the girls were drawing birthday cakes and things like shoes.
One girl, however, was quietly drawing two cat-looking animals. In my spare time, I absolutely love to draw animals, so I knelt down to her eye level – which surprised her, since she seemed to be one of those students that just quietly stuck to herself – and asked her if she liked drawing. She said that she was “ugsessed” with wolves, and so she wanted to draw them. I brought a paper to her, and asked if she would like to see a way to draw wolves. When she said yes, I showed her the technique I use to draw animals. I drew wolves in a few different poses, and she held the paper close to herself and looked up at me with what I think was awe and happiness. The other girls around her started to say how those wolves were so cool, and how she was lucky to get that sheet. The girl then spent the next hour drawing wolves, and her improvement was astonishing – Frances said that this little girl told her that she was trying so hard to impress me, and wanted to make me proud of her. This touched me. When I was having a rough time in high school, I came across an artist online who had many How-to-draw-dragons books that I used as an escape, and that discovery largely affected the skills and mindset I have today.
The way this young girl handled my sketches was much the same as how I handled my first how-to-draw book. She came up to me later and asked for more help, and listened very intently. She showed it to all of her friends, and then sat down and drew picture after picture of wolves. I wish I had taken a picture of her work besides mine, because remembering her face as I gave her my time to show her something to help her skills will stay with me forever. She gave me a tight hug on the way out the door. The day came to an end. I am somewhat sad to see my field experience end, but I look forwards to working in this profession all the more.