fratello sole, sorella luna...


Some days when I come home from spending an entire day around children I feel old. Today was not one of those days. Instead I'm feeling rather young and spritely. My class went on a field trip today, to visit a spawning channel and basically just enjoy a Friday away from the classroom. On events like this I have a chance to try out different techniques when working with my behaviour students. As all of my students are moving on to junior high next year they are getting a little tired of having their "prison guard" by their side at all times. It's a bit of a catch 22 though, they don't want support and they start misbehaving and being non-compliant with me thinking I'll get tired of them. However, that only makes the situation worse because the worse their behaviour becomes the more present I have to be. Anyhow, today my students were all having good days so I was able to "set them free" (not that they were ever imprisoned except in their own minds) and observe them from afar. I think I enjoyed the break more than they did as I got a chance to interact with some of the other students in the class. I'm not all that much older than some of these kids... and when not faced with behaviour issues I get treated a bit more like a big sister than like big prison matron.

This period of prepubescence is short lived... and I have really enjoyed this year of interacting with these students before they really started demonstrating the typical teenager attitude. For their sake I hope that some of these kids don't really change too much as they grow into adults. A couple of the girls in particular are quite affable and aggreable and it would be a shame if they were to acquire nasty little attitudes in a couple years. Maybe it's the mother hen/earth goddess/sister moon/feminista in me, but I feel a certain amount of protectiveness over these girls (maybe I should become a girl scout leader and give self esteem talks around the campfire). I had taken my camera along with me to document the field trip for the class and some of the students asked me to take their pictures as they've seen some of my work before. We can be so critical of our image no matter what the age, but I remember being twelve and teetering on that edge of hyper image consciousness and relative ignorant bliss. It was so refreshing to me that the two girls whose portraits I took were able to look at their photos and not be critical of what they saw. When I told them that I could give copies of the pictures I took of them (I took maybe five each) they were so pleased. This little exercise made me think more about how I want to develop my portraiture work especially working with children. I would have loved to be able to incorporate portraiture in a lesson with these students, taking a portrait of each child and having them write about the feelings that the photo elicited (how they might have felt when the photo was being taken and how they felt now looking at the photo). It would be an interesting way to explore the concepts of image and self esteem. I'm thinking of asking the parents of these students if they would allow me to take some more portaits of their daughters. I'm thinking of this in sort of a dual track... as a way for me to drum up some more material for my portfolio and some more business, and also a chance to maybe give these girls a little opportunity to preserve that time in their life when things are not quite as confusing as they might become.


  1. Hi from Ulaan Bator, it's M.C. Fujimoto in the house...i like your subtle pun "spritely". It reminds me of the wordplay common in the conversations of the Mozambicans.