Most days my visits to the Village of Arts and Humanities are fun and fairly easy going. However, a few weeks ago my session with the students became somewhat difficult. One young female student around the age of 12 caused the class to be very difficult, I will call her Ashley. On this day in particular the lead instructor decided that the students would take the program’s digital cameras and take some photographs of the surrounding area while having a specific task for each group of photographers. What makes this situation interesting is the class discussion lead by professor Hobbs regarding young students who crave attention and have issues with student collaboration.
In Ashley’s case, she was a prime example of a student who would cause disruptions and confusion among the class in order to receive attention. When this was actually happening I did not make the connection and assumed she was simply being disruptive and annoying to the other students. As the class’s assignment began Ashley myself and a few other students consisting of a boy and another young girl named Ty and Jessica, took to the streets of North Philadelphia. With a camera strapped to her neck I began to instruct Ashley on taking her photo when she decided to stop and make a joke about Jessica that got the attention of other surrounding groups. That one joke caused Jessica to become upset and then began to threaten Ashley with a fight. I began to separate them two and asked for her to continue with her picture. She then made a face that suggested she had a serious problem with me telling the other students to stand on the sidewalk together in order for her to continue. She murmured, “I want to stand with him, I hate her.” What I did not know was these three kids were in some kind of puppy love triangle. Unbeknownst to me Ashley was jealous of the girl simply because Ashley had a crush on Ty but he had liked Jessica. As this story unfolded in my mind I was determined to not let it distract my group from completing the assignment given. I decided to let Ashley take her photos and have Jessica assist her while Ty stood back and watched.
My solution to this small altercation was not necessarily the best answer for my problem but at the time and given situation I believed that this was an incident that would quickly come to an end. About forty-five minutes into the project things were coming to an end and all photography requirements got met. In addition, with Ty being somewhat separated Jessica and Ashley coexisted without any problems. What I learned that day was that young kids do act out in order to get attention but most times it’s never that serious. As well as when it comes to successfully operating as a group there are always some challenges that have to be overcame. Nonetheless, what is most important is that my students got a chance to take some great photos and learn a few things about photography.