Two of my favourite things in the world are kids and art, and this Saturday I got to experience a bit of both. My friend Anna teaches a kid’s cartooning class, but this week she took a well-deserved trip so she asked if I could fill in for her.
There were 6 kids in the class, three girls and three boys. We had a great time making bead key-chains of their favourite cartoon characters and of random animals. I realize in retrospect that I should’ve taken some pictures of the bead critters, but here’s one from google that gives the general idea of the craft.
Two of the kids understood how to do the craft just by looking at the instructional pattern. Another two needed a little bit of a demonstration to get started, and the last two needed constant instruction (which is understandable since they were both only 6.) Overall it was a super fun time, and I’d love to do something similar in the future.
This class reminded me of the differences between elementary school teachers, and University TA’s or Professors. Teachers of younger kids must ALWAYS be aware. Even with the best group of kids, somebody ALWAYS needs your help, or has a question, or is doing something unsafe, or is making a mess. And this is understandable! They’re kids!
Having gotten used to the impersonal, rigid structure of University, where it’s the instructor’s job to deliver the material, and the student’s job to scribble for their life in hopes of understanding some part of the lecture, this casual, interactive art class was very strange indeed. I really liked that I got to know the kids on a personal level, and that I got the chance to make sure everyone was comfortable and understood what was going on.
That’s how the two teacher-type jobs differ, I guess. Teachers of younger kids need to always be hyperaware, and provide constant instruction and supervision, however they get the perks of getting to know the kids personally. University instructors also deliver material, however they’re under much less stress to make sure their students feel comfortable, and as a result, they don’t bond with their students as much.
Seeing as I’m thinking of becoming a teacher, I think these are valuable observations… But I don’t think I’m ready to choose my favourite age quite yet…