Monday, 31 October 2016

Words that stuck by - "Pathetic Work"

I was 11 years old when I received this comment on my artwork. Having little clue as to what the word meant and how it will stick with me in the coming years, I went home and asked my sister what the word meant. My family was appalled at the remark and explained it very nicely that my artwork was not appreciated by my teacher and that it’s okay if she did not like it, don’t feel disheartened by the remark. The assignment was basically to fold glaze paper and cut out a design (Yes, I remember the details). I chose a pink sheet, folded it and started to cut it out. What turned out was some sort of a lizard on four sides of the sheet. I tried a couple of more times but none of the designs came out with a pattern. The next day I handed over my artwork and voila, “PATHETIC WORK” graced my sketch-book.

11 years is a very impressionable age, an age where you are still in between being a child and adolescent. You look up to your parents, family, teachers to guide you, to nurture you, be a role model for you. There is already enough competition within the class who does what best, who is the highest achiever, the top three of the class and so on and so forth. And when a child receives such a remark and your fellow receives “EXCELLENT WORK”, well ma’am that was harsh. You could have explained it before remarking in such terms, a mere “re-do” or “Warda, this is not right” or “show me how you folded the sheet” would have sufficed it.
It has been 15 years and all of a sudden this memory pops up and I felt something akin to helplessness and wanted to write about it. It has become a running joke between my siblings and I and we laugh about it because even though the term stayed over the years, I know that I am talented. One good word, one bad word is all it takes to create a memory, to put that seed of self-doubt in your mind. In my case, I had my family with me who encouraged me instead. My point is that when you are in a position of guidance/ imparting knowledge/ teaching, choose your words and actions wisely. To the young teachers and seasoned ones; yes students create havoc in class, some are rowdy some are quiet, some extroverts and some introverts, some bookworms, some life of the class, some high achievers, some average students, be patient with them? Be stern but not aggressive? Motivate not demean? Words hold meaning and they stick by you. Be extra careful with younger students when voicing out opinions and simply while writing remarks.

More thoughts for some other time.



Published by: Warda Saeed Shaikh
Instagram: warda908

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