Fingerpainting my classroom the way my horse barn was.

American students are products produced on an assembly line rather than individual works of art crafted by caring designers. Students attend institutions wired with the information that has been superficially declared important for them to know. If the students can retain and recreate the information correctly they go to the next station on the assembly line. That is not how education should be and I plan on educating students differently. I feel that education will be better in my classroom; it will be like finger painting, much like how I learned to ride a horse.

Education and finger painting are the same. This most basic form of artistic creation is made up of the handprints of children. Although each child posses a handprint that may look similar to others at first, everyone has their own unique handprint. Finger painting cannot be done wrong. Everyone’s art is different but it all has its good characteristics and is valued. To many adults a finger painting may look small and insignificant, but it is a base for the child to grow upon. Finger painting can be done alone or by several people. The outcome of finger painting can vary greatly just as can the outcome of education. Education doesn’t need to be a precision manufacturing process, where the students produced are expected to be identical in appearance, personality, and performance. Diversity should be encouraged and unique talents cherished.

When I think of the greatest epiphany I’ve ever had I think of the process I went through learning to ride a horse. When I first rode a horse I was nervous and stiff, worried about performing the correct actions in the desired order to achieve the perfect outcome. After four lessons I loosened up. I began to work with the horse and read the horse’s body language. There came a day when I realized that horse riding is about a unity between the horse and rider, and now riding is a very natural thing for me. After that day I have always moved correctly with the horse’s movements, going up and down with the horse, knowing when the horse is going to jump, and when a horse is going to cause trouble.

After riding for about a year I began working at the barn. In the mornings I would bring the horses in and feed them. I began training some of the horses because I had learned that the real meaning of horse riding is moving with the horse and a unity with the horse. It was a sudden and unexpected clarity when I realized how I should horse ride. My instructor allowed me to learn this for myself, and fostered the differences between me and her other students.

I am majoring in education and worked at The Young School for over a year as well as Emmanuel Methodist Summer Camp. The Young School encouraged students to explore and learn for themselves as well as developed the differences between the children. Students were put into situations where there was nothing they could do wrong and encouraged to explore and learn for themselves in ways that interested them. When I become a teacher I am going to make sure I encourage the differences in students and remember what may seem insignificant to me may mean a lot to the students. The finger painting comparison represents how my classroom will be and how I treat the children. The room will be colorful and encourage diversity. I will supply the knowledge for their education and the paint for their finger painting.