Besides teaching my lovely 8th graders, I also tutor part-time because the headlines ain’t kiddin’: teachers get paid next to nothing, and hello? I like stuff. Stuff like food and gas for my car and paying rent, which is pretty much all I can afford. But I digress.
Anyways, I tutor several students, one of whom is an absolutely adorable 10-year-old girl. When I showed up to tutor her, she was nearly jumping up and down with excitement because she got to write and essay and make a drawing for the Doodle 4 Google competition that’s currently running. It’s a really cool promotion, where students compete to have their art featured on Google’s Homepage. This year’s theme is “What I Wish For The World.”
We sat down to get started, and she was overwhelmed with the POSSIBILITY of the whole thing.
“So, tell me: if you could change anything, about any of the problems in the world we live in, what would you change?” I said, eager to hear the response of an intelligent, sweet fourth grader.
She buried her face in her hands, squished up her face and thought hard.
“Well…” she started. “You know gasoline?”
“Well, it puts a bad smell into the air,” she said.
“Oohhh…like pollution?” I said.
I kid you not: this child looked at me like I was a total idiot (I mean, she didn’t even know about this!).
“Um, Amy, you know when you get gas in your car and you put the thing in that hole where gas goes? IT SMELLS REALLY BAD! THE GAS!” she explained, simulating filling your car with gas.
I nodded. Holding back my giggles, I told her to draw whatever she wanted because this was her chance to show what she thought we should fix.
Wielding her pencil, she stopped.
“You know, gas is really hard to draw!” she exclaimed. I agreed, and she decided to draw some other problems.
I wish my cell phone hadn’t been lit on fire, because the montage we wound up with was humorous enough. It included 2 kids with bubble hands jump roping, with the caption “KIDS NOT FIGHTING”, a replication of a dollar bill with “BE CHEEP” written near it and the words “MAKE A CLEAN NEIGHBORHOOD.”
When she finished, she sat back admiring her masterpiece. While it was not the most artful, it did seem to deal with some “real” issues we are currently facing as a nation. I complimented her on it and she shrugged.
“It’s OK, but I really wish we could have handled that gas problem!”