Friday, February 4, 2011


Well, this one certainly is!  I've been looking for this picture among all my "stuff" for quite a while.  Came across it yesterday.
(The little square bottom right is not part of the picture.  It is an award sticker.)

It was painted by a seventh grade boy who had been in our school  for about 6 months. 

When I asked Martin (not his real name), what his painting meant, he said, "This is what I felt like in my other school. I am the triangle in the middle".  

Martin,  was academically very bright.  He had a great sense of humor and was well-liked by the other students.  He did not have a resentful or rebellious attitude. I'm not saying he didn't ever get into trouble for he was definitely normal.  Except for one thing.  He was skinny, somewhat small in stature, wore quite thick glasses and always got good grades.  He definitely had the look of a nerd or geek. Because of this he became the brunt of bullies in his previous school.  Yes, bullying was just as prevalent 15 - 20 years ago.  Because we were a small school, we could keep track of our students more easily and simply did not allow bullying. One thing that helped was that we knew every student by name. 

Ours was a private Christian school, small by choice and definitely not a school for the elite.  We wanted to have a place for students who just couldn't handle the rough and tumble of the large schools in our area.  We didn't take children who were discipline problems and only those with academic problems who might blossom with more one-on-one attention.  This was before home schooling became popular.

It was hard financially, to run a small school like this.  Sometimes I didn't take a salary and my teachers certainly didn't get paid what they were worth.   But Martin's painting made it all worth while.

He wasn't the only one.  Sometime soon I'll tell you about a couple of other students who made it worthwhile. 

Martin graduated from high school and joined the navy.  He married his high school sweetheart whom he met at our school.


Anonymous said...

It is a perfect way to express oneself in a graphic dimension. Words would not be an easy substitute.

Morning's Minion said...

I marvel at the patience involved in creating the tiny detail of that telling painting. It is wonderful when the mission of a small private school succeeds in encouraging and nurturing a boy or girl who is over-looked and lost in a larger setting.

Unknown said...

Seems like you did a wonderful job with this boy who first entered into your class room.

Cassie said...

Great story. Haven't we all felt like Martin's blue triangle amongst the red blocks at some point in our life? I sure have.

Have a good weekend Chris!

MorningAJ said...

That picture shows exactly how I feel at work at the moment. I've been wondering if I need to look for a new job. I guess I know now. Thanks Martin!

Autumn Leaves said...

Oh do I know these feelings. Your words reinforce why my kids went to private Christian school too. They had a wonderful education and I'll never regret their years there.

Wanda said...

Thanks for the peek into your life as a teacher and principal and the touching drawing by this boy.

You title is perfect, and haven't we all felt like this at sometime or another.

Looking forward to more stories.

snafu said...

Interesting self comment.
Pardon me for asking but, how old are Seventh grade children? When I was at school our classes were identified by a year and there were only four years in primary and another four in secondary school, so no one could be more than fourth year. Some posh schools went on to a fifth year but us peasants were working or unemployed after our final fourth year.
So seventh grade means nothing to an old English ignoramus like me.

ChrisJ said...

Sorry, Snafu and all other Brits reading my blog. I think the equivalent would be the first year after the 11+. Oh sorry, that doesn't help for many either. I'm going to guess he was 12-13 years old.

kaybee said...

That is quite a remakable painting, Chris, and a an even more amazing story -- I am so glad it has a happy ending.

mrsnesbitt said...

lovely and heartwarming Chris. Education is a wonderful industry to be involved in - sadly the economics take too much hold at times and the decline sets in. I know this too well.

jabblog said...

What an extraordinary and telling painting. I'm glad 'Martin' found his place in your school and his future wife.