The Case of the Bad Rug Student

by Lisa

                               The Donald Trump toupee on a baby

I have been teaching for about ten years now. Literally hundreds of students have crossed the threshold of my door. For the most part, I am proud to say that I am well liked, and well respected (as cranky as I can be at times), and I have been very successful as a painting instructor.

Of the perhaps five hundred students that I have taught and had good experiences with, I can think of three, maybe four whom I simply did not jive with, and for one reason or another could not handle for a win win situation for student/teacher. That constitutes than 1% of my student population if you do the math (which I suck at so I hope you do).

The first student I encountered that I could not work with wore a toupee about as convincing as the one on the baby above. I tried hard to overlook the toupee. But I am toupee sensitive. I can spot a rug from miles away. There was just something about a dentist in a big fluffy toupee that I had trouble getting around. Then, when it came time for him to write an evaluation of me at the end of the term, I got a scathing review from him. My boss at Cheekwood, in Nashville, where I was teaching at the time found it  quite amusing because I always got rave reviews, and here was one that said things like–he’d be better off watching Gilligan’s Island reruns than attending my classes. Okay, I admit, I did not make much of an effort to help him (all I could do was stare self-consciously at the rug). I thought he’d be better off watching Gilligan’s Island reruns too. He also said my models were deplorable (the staff booked them, not me–oops!) Make no mistake. I do not feel guilty trashing him here about his hairpiece. He did blasheme me.

There was one who got angry at me on the first night of class because she thought she was coming for a relaxing evening of painting, and apparently I was too intense for her. I was real sorry to see her name marked off my roster the next week.

One woman had fainting spells everytime I came to her on the first day of class. Hey, I am 5’2″ tall. I do not have fangs and claws.

Then there was the student who argued with me about everything. No matter what I would suggest to her, she would have a reason for not doing it to my specs, and before the entire class would argue with me, questioning my ability to teach, and taking up valuable class time when I could be helping those who wanted or could be helped. In this case the student got fired. By me.

It happens. I cannot please them all. I do ask that you not darken my door if you a wear toupee, nerves on your sleeve, or noisy gold clogs when you walk into my class–not if you want a good little teacher out of me. PS. The older I get, the pickier.

Love you. Love me?

This entry was posted in Art Instruction, Humor, On Suffering. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The Case of the Bad Rug Student

  1. As most all fellow teachers will agree, this post is so so true. And the older we get, the pickier we can be. Yeah! I love almost every student I’ve had (except the continually negative ones, the know-it-all unteachables, and the subversive, divisive ones.) Teachin is way to rewarding and productive to put up with the bad eggs.

  2. wrjones says:

    Did my mom send you that baby picture of me?

  3. Dianne Mize says:

    As the risk of telling my age I’ll confess I taught for 43 years–10 in high school, 10 in college and the rest at my private art school for adults. It was the college and adult students among which the types of offenders you mention occasionally came through the door. I think those offensive types are planted by the universe to keep good teachers humble. Now, I don’t applaud the universe for doing that, I just observe it. I think we teachers could manage humility just fine without prickles.

  4. Susan Carlin says:

    Love you! I haven’t taught years and years, even though I’ve taught intermittently over 30 years. It’s true for me, too, that I don’t suffer fools or bad manners any more. With age comes the realization that life is too precious and I have too much self respect to waste time on nonsense like that. So I’ve fired students, too. I’m thankful it hasn’t been necessary often, but when necessary, it was satisfying. Helping artists improve their skills and watching the light bulbs go on over their heads is a thrill, isn’t it?

  5. wrjones says:

    I’m crazy about you. I finished the workshop flower painting – now that is commitment with a capital K. How long ago was that?

  6. Chris Page says:

    “noisy gold clogs.” Love it.

  7. lbtowers says:

    Proud of you Bill!!!

    Miss you Chris!!!

  8. These stories of students from the dark side made me smile… and wince too. May this sort be few and far between for all teachers!

  9. Right on Bill. When you’re a participant in a class where people are difficult it takes away from everyone. One of my friends who ran into some of these type, just out and told the person who wouldn’t take instruction that she couldn’t waste time on trying to force him and left him(with his toupee). He dropped out to her delight!

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