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LAce Posted Monday, October 3rd, 2005
The Lesson Plan
Jocelyn Johnson

Being a middle school art teacher evokes shock and awe in many new acquaintances: "You must be brave to work with that age-group," they moan. Usually I shrug, shake my head and assure them its fine really.

But as I gear up for the new school year, I am starting to wonder. After all, in the next few weeks, there will be budget wrangling, room rearrangements and much paper work; not to mention the anticipation of a new crop of hormone-stricken pre-teens. All this prompts me to ask:

"Am I cut out for this type of work?"

My husband reminds me that these are just late summer jitters; everything will fall into place once school starts.

"Besides, it's too late to back out now," he teases.

So I dive in headlong, start to draft a new lesson plan:

Material needed

Bright, velvety pastels


The ethereal drawings of artist Paul Klee

Student Goals

Shape line and shadow to show an emotion you've felt

Mid-plan I concede that my husband may be right about me. After all, teaching offers myriad rewards, often in the form of an awkward, struggling student; a 8th grade girl in low rise jeans with a band of blemishes beneath her claw of bangs; or a boy maybe, held back a year, with a faint mustache smudged above his lips:

"Ms Johnson, come look at my picture," he will call, puffing out his narrow chest. "I added shading like that artist you showed. Does my emotion look more like frustration or hyper-ness to you?"

I suspect this happens in ordinary classrooms everywhere. In their most salient moments, our students transform: they become architects of towering questions; explorers of their own histories and possible futures.

With only a few days left now, I am gathering the courage to be a worthy guide.

Comments [post a comment]

Posted by Lela Schneidman on Monday, October 3rd, 2005 at 3:40 PM
i wish you were my art teacher. you're cool!

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