The International School of Education building was recently built within the last 15 years or so. However, the classrooms on the 4th floor where we taught were very basic and did not seem to be that new. While I had easels for my students to work at, the other art rooms used small desks (about 5th grade size) lined in a row as the only furniture. The rooms and hallways conserved electricity and kept the lights off unless absolutely necessary. I was thankful for the big windows that let in the natural light and fresh air. Students were responsible for cleaning the room before class while an Auntie and Uncle live at the end of the hall in one room and maintain the rest of the floor. Usually these floor monitors have moved to the university to be near their grandchildren who's parents may work there.

After my first day in class, it became clear why the students did not want to get their hands dirty. Without soap and paper towels (or toilet paper for that matter) provided in the building, it was more difficult to clean up after a messy studio day. This problem was easily solved, I brought in some soap and towels and encouraged the students to forget about their hands. The eager ones, enjoyed the freedom of getting into their work!

1. A dark hallway on the 4th floor
2. Wu Toi works with powdered charcoal
3. Ya Nan gets into her oil painting
4. Yun Kai, Xua, Ya Nan, and Juan Juan work on easels for the first time.


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