|The Taming of Horses - St. Petersburg, Anichkov Bridge|
I’m under no illusions when it comes to the makeup of my student body in an elective art class. In fact, I’ve identified three kinds of visual art students. I can work with all three types, but some are easier to motivate than others.
1. Type 1: These kids love art and can’t get enough. (Wish I had more of these).
2. Type 2: These kids view art as the means to fulfilling a fine arts requirement; and
3. Type 3: These kids need to fill a time slot in their schedule, and I’m the least offensive of several less palatable choices.
Last month, Type 3 student, “James,” decided after completing Art I, that his foray into visual arts had reached an end. He told me he was bailing at the semester’s conclusion. True to his word, on the last day of class he cleaned out his cubby, took his portfolio and exited my room for the last time. I felt sorry to see him go. Although not especially motivated or artistic, I thought he might gain more confidence in his abilities if he just stuck it out. Frankly, he was looking for a class in which to mark time until graduation, something really low maintenance and less taxing – possibly a study hall. So, to my surprise, on day three of the new grading period, “James” walked into class and asked if it was too late to take Art II. Mildly amused, I queried him as to why he wanted to enroll, when we both knew he wasn’t interested in art. He sheepishly replied that he didn’t want to take Business Communications. “So, I’m the lesser of two evils?” I inquired, driving the point home. “Yep,” he grinned back at me. .. Well, at least you have to respect his honesty.
My father in law says: “I’d rather tame a wild horse, than breathe life into a dead one”. I hope I’m up for the challenge, but it remains to be seen whether the patient can be cured.