The Clay Teacher is winding down and only a few weeks left of our first year. What a rush. We built it and they did come. The best thing that happened in almost every workshop was giving the children the freedom to do what they liked. I was asked so often “can I do….. fill in the blank”….. and I would say “YES”… this is your project you do it your way, as long as it fits the basic guide lines, you have the choice and the ability to make it yours. Children have this flat out honesty that looks you square in the eye when they hear about having freedom. Their whole self smiles and it lights their eyes with a light that I will never grown tired of seeing. I heard a joke once that about a little girl that came home from school and she was upset because the teacher said she didn’t colour in the lines. Her mother told her to colour anyway she liked and when she was done to draw a line around it. That is what we tried to give to the students. It is easier to think inside the box if you create your own box. I used to ask when we first started this, if the teacher wanted to adhere strictly to the project or if they were willing to let the kids go their own way. Most would say let them go, but a few would say they wanted control over the project, so I stopped asking. I learned a long time ago, if you don’t want to hear the answer, don’t ask the question. We will see next year on the repeats if this was a good plan or not. Mind you, the year is far from over. We have a number of students, projects and smiles left to come.
A young lady came to our door last night. She works for World Vision and was looking for people who would sponsor a child. .She showed us a picture of a boy that lives in Mali and it was her last boy to place for the day. She was so young, so much of a princess and so full of passion for what she was doing. She had no idea she was a princess, and there is nothing wrong with being a princess. She is just young. She lived at home and her dad was calling from his car in the neighbourhood that she was working as she went from door to door. He would pick her up after she was done and they would go out together. But the fact still remains, it was a Friday night and she was looking for sponsors for World Vision and not doing what most young girls are doing on a Friday night. She is princess about to grow into the woman she wants to be. She has the brains, the family support and the opportunity to do what she wants. Opportunity is the key word here, so many don’t have opportunities and if we can help this one boy…... We have seen this child almost daily in the schools, or one just like him, but the difference is we see him after his family has have found their way out of Africa or whatever poverty stricken country and found their way to freedom. There is that word again. We see them in the schools with English as their second language, drinking in this new and wonder life. We tried to sponsor a child in Zimbabwe a few years ago. But with all the unrest in the country, it all sort of fell apart. Mali is a much more stable country than Zimbabwe and one of the poorest countries in the world, but they do have democracy. The boy we are sponsoring is named Mamadou Togo, he is five years old and lives with his parents. His father is a farmer and his mother is self employed. We don’t know what she does, but as time goes on, we will. We are looking forward to getting to know this family. We will keep you up to date.
I threw some pots today and it felt good. I have spent a lot of energy teaching this last year and have wondered off from potting. When I spend my days in the classroom, I don’t want to pot. I give all I can to the workshop. I am still a potter and I have to find a way to balance them. I told the City that I quit teaching and then reconsidered, only for the paycheque. They have hired other teachers and my position there is most likely filled and after today I am glad. I always teach the beginners and it would be more fun to teach an advanced class and more fun yet to pick up the production a bit now that I have gotten over the ……I don’t want to make anything burn out,,,,, and not working nights or Sundays that gives me my freedom to be a potter and an artist.
Janice Joplin once said “freedom just another word for nothing left to loose” ……not true….freedom is everything, it lets you be you....
Until the next time.
The Clay Teacher