I was looking through a workbook from my high school years. It was a cute accumulation of work with a lot of extra attention that I put into decorating it. I was amazed that I would have done such extra and inspired work. Then I saw a comment from my teacher from many years ago...
Wow. My teacher, who I remember as a fairly uninspired and limited teacher (today I can see that) had the need - or guts - to judge my extra work in the book with "quite nice". I don´t know about schools here in the US, but in Austria that was the least she could say and a term used when it was time to be polite and the situation was rather hopeless.
Immediately it hit me, how that statement had taken the wind out of my sails and made me feel untalented and less than average. How is it that teachers think they need to judge in a way other than grades? I thought of many little comments of other teachers as well that stuck with me to this day. Art is a delicate subject. How come a teacher can decide, whether what we put down on canvas or do with clay, is not enough of this and too much of that? It is the personal statements that get to the kids, not the technical help and feedback. It is a shame that these things happen.
I love the concept of inspired learning, where the focus is on what works and thus the whole person grows and learns more and more (www.inspiredlearning.org). There is no need to trample the seedling of any talent in kids just yet - or ever. I am not against grades and learning and hard work. I find that many comments and judgements are uncalled for and do no good and only harm. We do not need this - ever.
So here is to some of my teachers, who encouraged me and my parents and accepted the parts that were yet to develop. You are true teachers, thank you so very much. Kids never forget. Kids grow into adults and will pass it on.