A few weeks ago at Tate high school, Kassia planned a lesson where we spent the entire class just having fun drawing, writing, and collaborating in small groups of three to five people. We’d spend five minutes drawing or writing and then pass our paper to the person next to us in our group and then add to their work. It was great seeing the students expressing themselves in the visual form of doodles, and some works really deserve to be called illustrations. Both classes have a talented bunch of individuals and even though this activity involves group work, it’s apparent what each student added to make their creations shine. Among a couple weed jokes and memes, the students showed honesty and sincerity, too. (If you click on the images, you can view in a larger format.)
I was also pleased at the sheer optimism that radiates in the students’ work. One thing I cannot stand is the stigma against students that attend alternative schools. People assume they’re delinquents or dangerous or just utterly unintelligent. They are wrong on all counts. Over the semester I’ve gotten the honor of hearing the backgrounds of a lot of our students, and I can say with absolute certainty that these people are some of the hardest workers I’ve met. Sometimes they get cranky and unresponsive in class, but I’ve learned over time that this usually has very little to do with a boring lesson and more to do with what’s going on in the personal life of each student. I don’t want to sound patronizing or pseudo-inspirational, but these students deal with more than a lot of my college peers do. Yet in speaking with them and reading their work, I’ve found that they still have this incredible hope for the future. It shows in their work.