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Murphy's Law of the classroom.

Murphy's Law of the classroom

We all are familiar with the old saying, "Whatever can go wrong, will." Most art teachers are aware that there is a second set of these rules that applies specifically to their classrooms. How many items on this list are familiar to you? 1. Only the child with the box of

sixty-four crayons will spill them. 2. The only paints which spill on

clothing are those colors that will

not come out -- most specifically

magenta and turquoise. 3. The brush you find upside down in

the brush can is certain to be full of

paint. 4. The child most likely to cry is the

one who is most likely to break his

clay pot. 5. The child who made his watercolor

still life in absolute miniature is the

one whose parents will want to mat

and frame it for the art show. 6. The child frantically waving his

hand during your Michelangelo

lecture wants to talk about a missing

tooth. 7. The only question pertaining to

your Van Gogh lecture will be in

reference to his ear. 8. The stapler runs out of staples only

when you are two floors and three

halls away from the artroom

putting up an exhibit; however, if you

remember to check it first, it will be

full. 9. The fire marshall always makes his

inspection on the day you're

melting crayons for crayon-batik. 10. This is the same day everyone

complains because you're

drowning out the aroma of freshly

baked cookies from the cafeteria. 11. The child with the best weaving

technique will have the worst

sense of color. 12. The day you choose to introduce

purple finger paint is the day a

child chooses to wear the dress she

plans to wear for Aunt Tillie's

wedding. 13. The child referring to "God and all

them guys sittin' down"

remembers you've talked about DaVinci's

Last Supper sometime in the

distant past. 14. The child poking "teacher,

teacher" on your back will most

certainly have paint on his hands. 15. The day you have just enough

supplies for a special project, you get a

new student. 16. The child most insistent about

using his initials on everything has

obscene initials. 17. The only times you're called out of

class are during encaustic, raku or

string painting. 18. The most popular food sculpture

choice is always pizza...never

sundaes or pheasant under glass. 19. The three largest students in the

room will sit directly in front of

the still life or projector

screen--and wiggle around. 20. The shortest student always sits

at the tallest table and tries to put

his work on the top of the drying

rack. And then there are those rules that apply specifically to student teachers. 1. Your college supervisor will show

up only on the day before

Christmas vacation when the children are

either hanging from the rafters or

watching movies while you pig-out

in the teacher's lounge. 2. The "vomiting virus" will strike

only when the mentor teacher is

out of the room. 3. Fire drills always come during clay

class. 4. Wind drills always come during


While this list has been tongue in cheek it did strike a few familiar twinges, didn't it? Think "Murphy" the next time you have additions for the list. Perhaps it ought to be the last page of every student teacher's handbook. What do you think?

Marti McCoy teaches elementary art at South and North Elementary Schools in Danville, Indiana.
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Author:McCoy, Marti
Publication:School Arts
Date:Oct 1, 1989
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