Ah Grasshopper! - A Slice of Life Story


I recall in my initial year of teaching drawing a huge grasshopper on the chalkboard labelled with the correct grasshopper parts. Spiracles, abdomen, thorax. An example of incomplete metamorphosis I told my students. I wonder if that impressed them?

The drawing took up a third of the blackboard space and stayed on display long after the interest in grasshoppers had passed. I was most reluctant to erase my gigantic grasshopper, given the time and effort that went into creating it. Chalk dust in the lungs, hands stained with purple and black (deadly, but effective colours).The arrival of dustless chalk seemed a fortuitous advancement at the time. I knew a teacher who even went to the trouble of sharpening chalk before using it. Now that's kind of behaviour is a worry.

I eventually replaced the grasshopper with a pirate ship which was less impressive. From the back of the room it listed a little too much to one side. As a chalk artist I never quite recaptured the grandness of my grasshopper.

When I enter a classroom these days, smart-boards and whiteboards have taken the place of dusty, messy chalk. These days I can download a grasshopper if I need one. So easy, a lot less time and effort and no more dust laden ledges. Three cheers for techological advances!

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