Welcome to week one! This week I spent a lot of time orienting myself with the teaching styles and children at RHAP and BASIS.
On Monday, I started on-site with BASIS Independent Brooklyn and attended the art classes for 4th-grade Titanium and 2nd-grade Aluminum. During these classes, I observed how Ms. Weathers runs things in her classroom and was amazed by the wonderfully symbiotic relationship she has cultivated with her students. As she explained their projects they all were focused and interested. She engaged them in the lesson by asking them what different words meant such as “geometric” versus “organic”. After they had settled and began working, I went around to as many tables as possible to introduce myself and learn more about each individual. This will help me bond with the students, and will also allow me to understand their behaviors and how they express their emotions. In doing so, I can better interpret my observations of them for my research. All of the students were very conversational but remained focused on their work while still talking with me. At the end of each class, Ms. Weathers gives the students an opportunity to compliment and shout out a person in the classroom that made an impression on them that day. One of the fourth graders shouted out me! I was so glad that I came off as “cool and kind” and “bonded with them well”. I look forward to deepening my relationship with each of these intelligent students.
Later in the week, I began working with RHAP. Their after-school program and studio had a more mixed age group but on the first day, I mostly worked with the younger kids ages 5-7. These kids were equally as amazing as my BASIS students. They were all so intrigued by what I was drawing and wanted to recreate the eyes I was sketching. I got to encourage two young girls to draw animals they thought they could never create and see them be so proud of themselves for giving it a shot. I also observed how a group of rowdy 12-year-old girls calmed down and made beautiful (and messy) paintings while talking with each other as the evening went on. RHAP is preparing for a Gala event so everyone was working on monochromatic pink paintings and it was amazing to see how creative they all got. Later in the week, I worked more with the older students. I drew with them as we practiced figure drawing with a professional that comes in to teach each week. It was edifying to see them focus and practice technique.