“I want to be an artist and a scientist,” said El a week ago when I asked him what he wanted to be in the future.
He absolutely loves his dinosaurs, animals and countries of the world. When I probed further, he told me that he wanted to study other places, such as Egypt.
“What about Egypt do you want to study?” I asked, “Mummies?”
“Yes, mummies,” came the reply.
“What about pyramids?”
“Yes, and pyramids.”
He actually wants to be an archaeologist, but that is another story.
I had started him on art lessons since he turned four, because his colouring was really bad. He did not colour within the lines, which was actually expected of his age, and he would just colour a little. I had also witnessed how my students were really bad at drawing, and art is an examinable subject.
Being a typical kiasu mother, I decided he should pick up basic art skills. After asking other mummies, I decided to let him join Global Arts. To accommodate both’s schedules, I had to switch Gar’s class.
In the first few lessons, the teachers kept complaining about him.
“El is not focused.”
“El doesn’t colour everything.”
“Why did El write on his paper? Don’t do that.”
Woah, I had never thought El was causing so much trouble. I had complaints from his school teachers before, about how he would be daydreaming or busy doing his own things. He loves to write, so he had taken his crayons and wrote words on his picture meant for colouring. However, despite the complaint, which the teacher said she would just skip that page and make him start afresh, they managed to find a way to cover up the words and colour the picture.
I thought after a term, I would stop the lessons. After all, I was already making him go for his piano lessons which he was not really excited about. However, he started to pick up interest along the way, and then suddenly, he started kicking up a big fuss if we were slightly late for his lessons. He would be extremely upset if there were no lessons on that day.
If we were early and could not enter the centre, he would get a bit anxious, and kept trying to go in. Usually he will end up running with Gar along the corridor. Gar with his boundless energy, would be running non-stop and we would be trying our best to catch him.
Occasionally we would see his former classmate, but not very often. El sometimes ignores him and just wants to rush into the class.
His colouring has improved greatly. He blends the colours and colours everything within the lines. I noticed that usually the teachers would be the ones taking the crayons and passing them to the children to colour at a certain area.
I started to think that they only did colouring. Shouldn’t they learn how to draw? Blur mummy finally found out that they did when I checked his bag. Some of his pencil drawings are very cute! He is able to draw cartoons!
As time passes, I see El blending colours on his own when we do a bit of colouring at home. That is, if his brother does not snatch the colour pencils away.
To my surprise, his English teacher complained that he did not colour within the lines, and did not put in much effort. When I told her that he was able to colour the entire pictures, she was speechless. That led me to reflect on my own teaching. Why is it that some people are just able to draw out more from a student compared to others? Food for thought, I guess.
By the way, when I told his father that El wanted to be an artist and a scientist, the pragmatic Singaporean immediately said he should be a scientist and draw as a hobby.