She was quiet when she came. She didn’t speak. It was already the second week of art camp. We would ask her a question in class and she would shake her head or whisper her answer.

We were gentle with her. We drew her out. Showed her that we were interested in her. In no time, she warmed up to us. She showed confidence in her demeanor. Gone was the shy child who felt like an outsider. She answered the “Question of the Day” when it was her turn. She would quickly search for the vocabulary word under her seat and read it to the class. She got down to work at art time.

She was usually done quickly with her work. She worked fast, way ahead of the others, and would declare that she’s done. But once her work was done, she was ready to leave. She would then go out of the session’s “zone” to play the piano. Getting her to stop from playing the piano so as not to disrupt the process of the other kids took effort and cajoling from us, the art teachers. She did stop, went back to the classroom, but showed that she was going to maintain her attitude. At succeeding times, she stood her ground: she said she’s done and already wanted to go home while standing near the door. We asked her to go back in class but didn’t insist anymore when she refused. She cried when she didn’t get the attention she wanted.

She may have been too young. Immature. Coupled with that, her personality was strong. She knew what she wanted to do. When we had the kids work in partners, she didn’t really interact with her partner or include her. She drew, chose her colors, painted; did what she wanted to do without talking. She only talked to her partner when I facilitated it. She then enjoyed their exchange.

She sometimes would say “I don’t care.” "I wanna go home." "I don’t want to paint." It seemed to me that she had a short attention span. She also didn’t have friends in class. Her best friend was the girl who wasn’t allowed in the classroom because she upset other children. It seemed that she only came because she didn’t want to be left out from what the kids at the art center were doing. They seemed to be having fun.

She had a good sense of humor. She was not talkative like the other children but she would sometimes suddenly say something witty. One time, she muttered something with an accent. When we realized she was imitating me, my teaching partner and I couldn’t help but laugh.

When we were preparing for Artscape and the Summer Celebration, we asked the kids who were going to attend. Both times, she said out loud that she was not going. I felt it was not so much out of defiance but more for a want to get attention. She wanted us to ask her why she couldn’t come. Perhaps try to convince her to come. But we didn’t. She wanted attention and I wasn’t ready to give it. I was too concerned with running the class that I couldn’t get down to take care of the individual child. I guess I also didn’t like it that she was not being upfront about what she really wanted. I forgot that she is still a child.

8 September 2009

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