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Humor helps.

The first National Art Education Association Conference I attended was in 1994 in my home town of Baltimore, Maryland. It was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, down by the harbor. When I arrived I noticed signs welcoming several groups including NAEA and an Engineers Convention. "Which way to the art education conference?" I asked the official-0looking woman seated by the sign. "Follow the laughter!" was her reply. I paused and listened for a moment and, sure enough, her advice got me headed in the right direction. I have always remembered that answer and have been heartened by it. It is my experience that creative people, particularly art educators, often have a good sense of humor.

As a beginning teacher, I was teaching a unit on the Renaissance and enthusiastically discussing high-relief and bas-relief to a group of sixth-grade students. At one point in the lesson I asked the class, "How do you spell relief?" As if rehearsed, the entire class sang and spelled back to me R-O-L-A-I-D-S! This struck me as so funny that I burst out laughing. The class was thrilled to see me laugh (I had been told not to smile before Christmas) and everyone joined in. It was wonderful.

Another time, I was charged to come up with art ideas related to early American history. We made quilts, corn husk dolls, porcelain head dolls, wooden toys, and were preparing to start stuffed sculpture. I sent a note home asking children to bring in nylon hosiery to be used as stuffing. The next day one small boy brought in a huge black trash bag filled with nylons. I was shocked by this humongous offering and asked the child how in the world he had obtained so many pairs of hosiery. Reverently, he explained that his granny had died and they gathered the hose from her home. The hysterical thing (at least to me) was what he said next: "Don't worry, she washed them." I had to bite the inside of my mouth to keep from laughing--the thought of that incident still makes me laugh twenty-five years later. Enjoy your students. There is definitely a link between art teaching and humor.

How many of you remember a funny anecdote from your art teaching experience? Perhaps you could send them in to SchoolArts to share your smile with the rest of our readers.
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Title Annotation:Helpful Hints
Author:Broadwater, Kay
Publication:School Arts
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2004
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